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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation P-97-009
Details
Synopsis: ABOUT 8:30 A.M. ON 11/21/96, AN EXPLOSION OCCURRED IN THE HUMBERTO VIDAL SHOE STORE AND OFFICE BUILDING AT 100 JOSE DE DIEGO CALLE IN RIO PIEDRAS, PUERTO RICO. LOCAL EMERGENCY AGENCIES RESPONDED AND INITIATED SEARCH AND RESCUE OPERATIONS, BY 12/5/96 30 FATALITIES HAD BEEN CONFIRMED, AND 5 PEOPLE, BELIEVED TO STILL BE IN THE BUILDING RUINS, WERE MISSING. LOCAL AUTHORITIES HAVE SUSPENDED SEARCH EFFORTS UNTIL THE BUILDING CAN BE MADE SAFE FOR RESCUE WORKERS.
Recommendation: THE NTSB RECOMMENDS THAT THE PUERTO RICO PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION: DEVELOP WRITTEN PROCEDURES TO GUIDE PIPELINE INSPECTORS IN ASSESSING THE COMPLIANCE OF GAS PIPELINE OPERATORS WITH PIPELINE SAFETY REQUIREMENTS, IN DOCUMENTING PROBABLE VIOLATIONS, IN NOTIFYING GAS PIPELINE OPERATORS OF PROBABLE VIOLALTIONS, AND IN RECOMMENDING TO THE COMMISSIONERS ANY FORMAL ACTION THAT MAY BE REQUIREDTO OBTAIN PROMPT COMPLIANCE.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Mode: Pipeline
Location: San Juan, PR, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: DCA97MP004
Accident Reports:
San Juan Gas Company, Inc./Enron Corp. Propane Gas Explosion
Report #: PAR-97-01
Accident Date: 11/21/1996
Issue Date: 1/6/1998
Date Closed: 1/4/2006
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Public Service Commission (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Public Service Commission
Date: 1/4/2006
Response: The Safety Board understands that the Public Service Commission is working to develop a functional program in conjunction with the Office of Pipeline Safety that will cover the administrative and operational functions. In addition, the Safety Board understands that the Public Service Commission has developed the requested written procedures to guide pipeline inspectors in assessing the compliance of gas pipeline operators with safety requirements. Accordingly, Safety Recommendation P-97-9 is classified "Closed-Acceptable Action."

From: Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Public Service Commission
To: NTSB
Date: 9/23/2005
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 10/6/2005 9:12:14 AM MC# 9-23-05: When our administration begin on October 2002 there was not quality inspector for the program, we immediately begin a search of a person that can conduct the program in the correct direction. At the present, Mr. Torres Correa is working on this aspect with his 15 years of experience on the LPG Division and his knowledge on the program is going to be pointed to the correct direction. We are working to develop a functional program in conjunction with the OPS covering the administrative area and the operational functions. As part of this effort we add an additional inspector that in conjunction with Mr. Torres Correa give the appropriate continuity to the installation under the jurisdictional. Procedures for the inspector: Any inspectors have to take the entire course on Transportation Safety Institute. Inspector must develop procedures for scheduling when an inspection unit is to be inspected. The inspector must complete the standard inspection that consist 1.Review operator records 2.Review operator's plans 3.Review procedures and Program 4.Review OM and OQ Program 5.Review the emergency program 6.Checks the pipeline facilities: a)Corrosion control b)Pressure and regulators equipment c)Odorization d)Repaired and or active leaks e)Emergency valves Notifying an operator: Upon completion of an inspection, the operator must be notified of the results of the inspection. This notification shall consist of an exit interview with appropriate staff and written notice to the office and or authorized official identifying any noncompliance noted during the inspection. The operator shall be notified immediately of any hazardous or unsafe situation discovered during the inspection. Follow up activity: The Public Service Commission must conduct follow-up actions when noncompliance is discovered for ensuring that all noncompliance is corrected. However, the Public Service Commission must maintain a complete record of each noncompliance found. Records: The Public Service Commission must keep records of all pipeline safety inspections and follow-up activities. Inspection records should include the inspection dates, the operator/inspection unit, the name of the inspector, the location and type of facilities inspected, the name and titles of operator staff contacted at the inspection unit, the regulation sections checked for compliance, and the resulting evaluation conclusions. Follow-up records should include all correspondence or other contact between the Public Service Commission and the operator, the results of follow-up inspections, and other information necessary to demonstrate that the noncompliance has been corrected. Penalty: When a civil penalty is found, the inspector must make a letter to the Director and the director to the commissioner for conduct a draft resolution of the violation. The Public Service Commission has fully committed to ensure that the laws are observed, to guarantee and prophet our people.

From: NTSB
To: Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Public Service Commission
Date: 9/13/2005
Response: On July 23, 1998, the Safety Board classified Safety Recommendation P-97-9 "Open--Acceptable Response," because the Public Service Commission's May 15, 1998, letter, had indicated that it maintained Rules of Procedure that cover all its employees, including pipeline inspectors, on all aspects of the performance of their duties and obligations. In addition, the Public Service Commission had reported that it was reviewing all regulations to ensure that they would keep pace with current needs. Since 1998, the Safety Board has made five attempts by letter, fax, and e-mail to inquire about the status of action taken by the Public Service Commission to implement Safety Recommendation P-97-9. To date there has been no response. If there is no response to this letter regarding action taken by the Public Service Commission to implement the recommendation, the Safety Board will, regrettably, have no alternative but to classify Safety Recommendation P-97-9 "Closed--Unacceptable Action." The Safety Board is interested in knowing whether and how its recommendations are implemented, both to ensure that the public is provided the highest level of safety, and to identify creative solutions that might be shared with others. That is why we monitor the implementation of all our recommendations. We would appreciate receiving an update from you regarding actions taken or planned to implement the recommendation. Please refer to the recommendation by number in your response. Copies of the recommendation letter and related correspondence are enclosed for your reference. Thank you for your assistance. We look forward to receiving your updated response to Safety Recommendation P-97-9.

From: NTSB
To: Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Public Service Commission
Date: 7/2/2004
Response: The Public Service Commission’s May 15, 1998, letter, indicated that the Commission maintained Rules of Procedure that cover all its employees, including pipeline inspectors, on all aspects of the performance of their duties and obligations. In addition, the Public Service Commission, as one aspect of its efforts to continuously improve all aspects of management and procedures for the benefit of the people of Puerto Rico, was reviewing all regulations to ensure that they would keep pace with current needs. Pending receipt of further information from the Public Service Commission on this issue and an indication that ongoing activities were completed, Safety Recommendation P-97-9 was classified "Open--Acceptable Response" on July 23, 1998. The Safety Board is interested in knowing whether and how its recommendations are implemented, both to ensure that the public is provided the highest level of safety, and to identify creative solutions that might be shared with others. That is why we monitor the implementation of all our recommendations. A copy of the recommendation letter and related correspondence is enclosed for your reference. I am hoping that the Commission has completed its review of the procedures guidance to pipeline inspectors, so that this recommendation can be closed. Please call me at 202-314-6174 or by email at brownm@ntsb.gov if you have any questions. An email reply to this request would satisfy the Board's needs for an update on the status of implementing P-97-9.

From: NTSB
To: Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Public Service Commission
Date: 4/2/2004
Response: The Public Service Commission’s May 15, 1998, letter, indicated that the Commission maintained Rules of Procedure that cover all its employees, including pipeline inspectors, on all aspects of the performance of their duties and obligations. In addition, the Public Service Commission, as one aspect of its efforts to continuously improve all aspects of management and procedures for the benefit of the people of Puerto Rico, was reviewing all regulations to ensure that they would keep pace with current needs. Pending receipt of further information from the Public Service Commission on this issue and an indication that ongoing activities were completed, Safety Recommendation P-97-9 was classified "Open--Acceptable Response" on July 23, 1998. Please note that this the second request for an update on the status of this recommendation. The first request was sent by mail on June 19, 2002. The Safety Board is interested in knowing whether and how its recommendations are implemented, both to ensure that the public is provided the highest level of safety, and to identify creative solutions that might be shared with others. That is why we monitor the implementation of all our recommendations. We would appreciate receiving an update from you regarding actions taken or planned to implement the recommendation. Please address your response to Ms. Ellen Engelman Conners, Chairman, National Transportation Safety Board, and refer to the recommendation by number in your response. A copy of the recommendation letter and related correspondence is enclosed for your reference. Please call me at 202-314-6174 or by email at brownm@ntsb.gov if you have any questions. Thank you for your assistance. Michael T. Brown, Pipeline Safety Recommendations

From: NTSB
To: Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Public Service Commission
Date: 6/14/2002
Response: The Safety Board is interested in knowing whether and how its recommendations are implemented, both to ensure that the public is provided the highest level of safety, and to identify creative solutions that might be shared with others. That is why we monitor the implementation of all our recommendations. We would appreciate receiving an update from you regarding actions taken or planned to implement the recommendation.

From: NTSB
To: Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Public Service Commission
Date: 7/23/1998
Response: THE BOARD IS PLEASED TO LEARN THAT THE COMMISSION HAS WRITTEN PROCEDURES FOR PIPELINE INSPECTORS & THAT THE COMMISSION HAS RULES OF PROCEDURE THAT COVER ALL OF ITS EMPLOYEES, INCLUDING PIPELINE INSPECTORS, ON ALL ASPECTS OF THE PERFORMANCE OF THEIR DUTIES & OBLIGATIONS. IN ADDITION, THE PUERTO RICO PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION, AS PART OF ITS EFFORTS TO CONTINUOUSLY IMPROVE ALL ASPECTS OF MANAGEMENT & PROCEDURES FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE PEOPLE OF PUERTO RICO IS REVIEWING ALL REGULATIONS TO ENSURE THEY KEEP PACE WITH CURRENT NEEDS. THE BOARD WOULD APPRECIATE RECEIVING A COPY OF THE WRITTEN PROCEDUES FOR PIPELINE INSPECTORS THAT THE COMMISSION HAS DEVELOP. PENDING FURTHER RESPONSE, P-97-9 HAS BEEN CLASSIFIED "OPEN--ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE."

From: Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Public Service Commission
To: NTSB
Date: 5/15/1998
Response: (Letter Mail Controlled 5/18/98 3:34:13 PM MC# 980637) IN RESPONSE TO THE NTSB'S P-97-9 REGARDING THE DEVELOPMENT OF WRITTEN PROCEDURES FOR PIPELINE INSPECTORS WE HEREBY INFORM YOU THAT THE PUERTO RICO PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION HAS RULES OF PROCEDURE WHICH COVER ALL OUR EMPLOYEES, INCLUDING PIPELINE INSPECTORS, ON ALL ASPECTS OF THE PERFORMANCE OF THEIR DUTIES & OBLIGATIONS. NOT WITHSTANDING, IT IT THE POLICY OF AXIS ADMINISTRATION TO CONTINUOUSLY IMPROVE ALL ASPECTS OF OUR MANAGEMENT & PROCEDURES FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE PEOPLE OF PUERTO RICO. TO THAT END, WE ARE CURRENTLY REVIEWING ALL OUR REGULATIONS TO ENSURE THEY KEEP PACE WITH OUR NEEDS.