Southwest Gas’s top priority is developing and continually enhancing a strong safety culture—starting from the very top of company leadership and management. Knowing that damage to Southwest Gas’s natural gas distribution system is a top threat to system safety, integrity and reliability, the executive leadership initiated a comprehensive and continuous improvement program approximately five years ago to actively engage the company’s primary pipeline construction and field operation contractors (collectively, “pipeline contractors”). As key allies, pipeline contractors are vital to reducing excavation damages, and achieving essential safety and quality metrics.
Highlighting these efforts is Southwest Gas’s Annual Safety and Quality Executive Leadership Summit that includes a focus on damage prevention competencies and management presentations from the pipeline contractors. The summits, as well as continued engagement with pipeline contractors, laid the foundation for implementing “best value” contracts. Best value incorporates value-added performance into the Southwest Gas bid process and standardized contracts by writing damage prevention directly into a pipeline contractor’s performance deliverables. These deliverables create meaningful financial consequences as enforcement mechanisms to incentivize the contractors to meet the safety and quality performance expectations set by Southwest Gas. Accordingly, these best value contracts can be for a single, large project; or may be applied to a multi-year duration blanket contract.