Social

Occupational
Health & Safety

We believe that a successful safety culture underpins a successful business and we demonstrate our commitment to safety every day. We provide our employees and contractors with the necessary tools and training to be safe and successful, and to go home every day to their loved ones. 

Approach to Occupational
Health & Safety

103-1
Explanation of the material topic and its Boundary

103-2
The management approach and its components

103-3
Evaluation of the management approach

403-1
Occupational health and safety management system

403-2
Hazard identification, risk assessment and incident investigation

403-3
Occupational health services

403-4
Worker participation, consultation and communication on occupational health and safety

403-5
Worker training on occupational health and safety

403-6
Promotion of worker health

403-7
Prevention and mitigation of occupational health and safety impacts directly linked by business relationships

403-9
Work-related injuries

403-10
Work-related ill health

103-1
103-2
103-3
403-1
403-2
403-3
403-4
403-5
403-6
403-7
403-9
403-10

Equitrans holds safety as our top priority and believes that execution is not successful unless Zero Is Possible. All Equitrans employees and contractors are entitled to work in a safe environment. We empower employees to identify risks and hazards and provide resolution strategies to minimize the potential for incidents throughout our organization. Equitrans’ Health, Safety, Security, and Environmental (HSSE) Policy enforces our commitment to a world-class safety culture—above all else.

Suppliers and vendors are no exception to Equitrans’ safety focus. We require all affiliated Equitrans partners to have robust safety programs in place. Equitrans believes safety not only protects the well-being of our workers but also assists in managing costs, maintaining efficiency, and increasing employee productivity.

We are all held accountable for following safety procedures, and employees and contractors are encouraged to demonstrate safety leadership. Each Equitrans employee has a responsibility to protect themselves and their co-workers every day. All employees and contractors have the authorization to stop work when unsafe conditions or unexpected hazards arise, no matter their position or responsibilities. We conduct our business operations in accordance with all applicable health and safety requirements established by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and other regulatory bodies, as well as industry best practices. Regulatory compliance is the first layer of our safety practices but is by no means our only safety focus.

ZIP Today

We manage safety at Equitrans through our safety platform ZIP Today, or Zero Is Possible – Today. In mid-2020, we expanded our ZIP program to include our Environmental efforts and to visually connect this merging of disciplines, we revised our ZIP logo to incorporate a symbol of the value we place on Environmental Stewardship. The concept of Zero Is Possible remains the same; however, we now have a visual reminder that ZIP also applies to our environmental efforts, such as minimizing methane releases, preventing spills, and working in compliance with permits. Similar to Safety, while we may not be able to achieve Zero overnight, it is more of an aspirational goal that we will actively plan for, work toward, and achieve by taking it one day at a time.

Driven by our HSSE team and with oversight by the Board’s HSSE Committee, ZIP Today is the manifestation of our overriding belief that success is only realized when every contributor is safe and unharmed, and when we consistently strive for environmental excellence. As we continue to build a robust safety and environmental stewardship culture, it is important that our employees and contractors remember that their safety takes precedence above all else, a point that ZIP Today helps foster.

Since 2018, our commitment to the Zero Is Possible—Today platform has been transformed into a way of life at Equitrans. Three safety subcommittees within our HSSE team—representing operations, construction, and office employees—developed an enhanced “way-of-life mentality” that is exhibited throughout our operations. In line with our corporate safety objectives, each committee developed and tailored safety target assignments for implementation across their respective areas. The basis for the transformation was our Incident with Serious Potential (ISP) concept, a risk-based system focused on precursors of incidents, near-misses, and observations. Identifying precursors enables us to build safety practices that help prevent accidents from occurring.

In accordance with ZIP Today, Equitrans also offers contractor awards. Our rewards extend to individuals, crews, and companies who demonstrate exceptional safety performance.

Hazard Identification

Equitrans requires all employees to receive training on hazard and potential hazard identification in relation to their specific job requirements. Managers work with employees to keep safety a top priority and mitigate potential hazards. Prior to starting a job, Equitrans releases a work order which includes applicable operating procedures on how to complete the work safely.

Field employees begin every task with a Tailgate Safety Meeting (TSM). During TSMs, the team discusses job requirements for the day and any potential hazards that may arise from crews or personnel working in proximity to each other. After the meeting, relevant employees and contractors dispatch to identify potential hazards, discuss safety control measures, and mitigate any hazards found prior to starting work. If a hazard is found, employees and contractors must notify supervisors to discuss how to best resolve the hazard. Additionally, all employees and contractors have the responsibility to exercise their stop work authority. Our stop work authority ensures every worker operates with safety at the forefront of our operations.

Risk Assessment

Equitrans developed our Standard Operating Procedures with safety in mind. These procedures explain the actions required to assess risks and perform a job safely and correctly. In addition, our Engineering Department designs our systems and facilities under applicable regulatory guidelines. We also implemented a design review process that involves several departments and employees who collectively review facility layouts and designs to mitigate potential risks and ensure safety. In addition to our Safety and Engineering Departments, our Pipeline Integrity and Environmental Departments are fully integrated into our safety culture and risk assessment processes.

Incident Investigations

For every safety-related incident or observation that transpires, regardless of whether an injury occurred, we carry out a comprehensive incident investigation – the results of which help us to learn and improve. Our investigation process starts with the identification of the incident or observation root cause and what precursors may have led to the incident’s occurrence. The front-line supervisor leads the investigation, with assistance from the HSSE team and experts familiar with the associated incident or observation. Next, we evaluate and identify solutions to prevent a similar incident from occurring again. This process may involve multiple departments within Equitrans, as the corrective actions identified may encompass multiple functions within the work processes. For each incident in which an injury does occur, we record the nature of the incident, as prescribed by the OSHA Injury/Illness Recordkeeping Guidelines. This record serves as another source of information for our incident investigations. We actively communicate each incident or observation across Equitrans along with the identified corrective actions. Safety bulletins, alerts, and training materials also may be available to supplement this communication.

Safety Education & Training

An informed employee who is able to identify safety risks and can take action to mitigate hazards is less likely to be injured. We place considerable emphasis on safety education and training, and we are committed to providing our employees the resources they need to work safely and successfully. In 2020, Equitrans employees completed 6,732 hours of safety education and training.

Every Equitrans employee participates in the Equitrans general orientation upon their hiring which includes information on our safety culture. Each employee also receives an in-depth safety orientation upon arrival at their work location. Employees attend core safety training annually, in addition to monthly specialized OSHA and Equitrans education tailored to an employee’s applicable work responsibilities. Examples of these tailored trainings include how to investigate incidents, safe driving practices, and how to recognize and control hazards. Employees are required to complete Equitrans-specific Operator Qualification (OQ) training specific to their job responsibilities. Lastly, employees receive extensive on-the-job training from their supervisors and peers.

In 2020, Equitrans noticed an increase in preventable vehicle accidents (PVAs). In response, our Safety Department created a Safe Driving Stand-Up that focused on the importance of safe driving. Supervisors were tasked with cascading the stand-up to their teams and encouraged their employees to focus on how to change their driving behaviors to better ensure their safety, the safety of their passengers, as well as the safety of everyone on the road. In 2021, we are placing additional emphasis on vehicle driving safety through our Company-wide Distracted Driving Awareness Initiative. We believe that having a ‘safe-driving mindset’ should extend beyond the workplace. We want our employees to be equipped to prevent distractions while driving for both work and personal travel.

Equitrans also has specific safety education expectations for our contractors. At the start of an Equitrans project, contractors are required to attend a kick-off meeting that establishes our expectations and defines roles and responsibilities, the project’s emergency action plan, and any potential hazards that may be present at the job site. In 2020, Equitrans implemented a comprehensive safety orientation video for contractors. Prior to starting work on any Equitrans site, all contractors and suppliers are required to watch our Contractor Safety Orientation video, which complements our overall safety practices, processes, and procedures and refreshes contractors on Equitrans safety practices, including hazard identification, risk management, and the process for mitigating potential site hazards.

Our Safety Performance

Employee Safety

Total Recordable Incident Rate*
Target
0.9
0.8
0.7
0.6
0.5
0.4
0.3
0.2
0.1
0

0.81

 

0.70

 
20192020
Lost Time Incident Rate*
Target
0.9
0.8
0.7
0.6
0.5
0.4
0.3
0.2
0.1
0

0.67

 

0.14

 
20192020

*Includes information for 100% of the Eureka Midstream assets; excludes MVP and MVP Southgate projects.

Equitrans diligently tracks numerous safety-related metrics to evaluate our safety performance. We track all safety data metrics through Intelex, our health and safety and quality management software application. Data includes relevant OSHA injury metrics, as well as Equitrans-specific metrics. These metrics include:

  • Incidents with Serious Potential (ISP), which includes events or situations where a behavior or activity may have the potential to cause serious injury or significant property damage.
  • Observations with Serious Potential (OSP), which includes observations of behaviors, actions or situations that, if allowed to continue, have the potential to cause serious injury or significant property damage.
  • Corrected Safety Opportunities (CSO), which reflect non-serious hazard reports, deficient procedures or processes, or improvement suggestions that have been corrected and incorporated into our business and operations. The CSO metric encourages employees to report all safety observations and opportunities for improvement to help increase safety awareness across Equitrans.

As a result of our collective ISP, OSP, and CSO efforts, we saw a 181% increase in total reported safety observations during 2020, as compared 2019. This significant increase resulted in opportunities for Equitrans to reduce risk and enhance the safety of our work environment.

Our internal safety metrics are incorporated into employee bonuses as part of our Short-Term Incentive Program (STIP), which aligns employee interests with those of our shareholders and the strategic objectives of our Company. By tracking and evaluating both safety and environmental metrics, and linking them to compensation, we can more effectively address any safety issues that may arise, increase the safety of our worksites and offices, identify opportunities for improvement, improve our environmental performance, and achieve employee buy-in. In 2020, we incorporated CSOs into our STIP reporting for the first time; and in 2021, we reinforced our commitment to environmental stewardship by incorporating metrics related to our methane reduction initiatives. Equitrans’ 2021 short-term incentive plan includes annualized reduction targets as related to pneumatic methane emissions.

In 2020, we incorporated CSOs into our STIP reporting for the first time and in 2021 we reinforced our commitment to methane reduction by expanding our environmental metrics to include methane reduction initiatives. Equitrans’ 2021 short-term incentive plan includes annualized reduction targets as related to pneumatic methane emissions.

In 2020, the injury and incident types most frequently recorded were related to finger and leg injuries. The most frequently observed safety opportunities were associated with process safety (how a job-task can be changed to make it safer) and hazardous energy exposure. These observations were positive examples of our employees proactively identifying potentially hazardous situations at the worksite. All safety opportunities help Equitrans amend and update our work policies and procedures, contributing to our objective of maintaining a safe work environment for our employees and contractors, at all times.

Safety At Home

With the onset of the pandemic during 2020, Equitrans eased the transition of working from home for our office-based employees with the introduction of COVID Communications. Through routine emails and information on our Company intranet, COVID Communications provided tips and information regarding home office safety, overall well-being, mental health, and ergonomics. The emails also reinforced Centers for Disease Control recommendations and provided relevant state guidelines related to the pandemic. We published and maintained Company-wide working protocols that provided guidance to our employees on how to work safely in these trying times. All employees and Board members also received a “COVID Care Package,” which included masks, hand sanitizer, hand soap, and a few healthy snacks to keep them going throughout the day. As a means of staying connected and engaged, Equitrans also provided employees with an opportunity to select a personal safety gift for use at home, reinforcing the importance of safety both on the job and while on personal time, and reaffirming our belief that Zero Is Possible.

Contractor Safety

The safety and well-being of our contractors, both in the field and in the office, is tremendously important. By focusing on contractor safety, we help foster a safer and more efficient work environment while also strengthening our contractor relationships. We hold our contractors to the same standards as our employees to ensure that our job sites and the people working at them stay safe. To do this, every company that provides contractors for our projects must hold our steadfast commitment to safety. We expect all contractors, including their subcontractors and agents, to adhere to all applicable U.S. laws and regulatory requirements related to health, safety, and employment, as well as to Equitrans’ Safety Management System, Company policies, and best practices

Before a contractor can begin working on any Equitrans project, they must first comply with all requirements of their Master Construction Services Agreement (MCSA) and be authorized by our Construction team. The MCSA requires contractors to comply with all Company-specific health and safety standards, as well as any applicable site-specific safety plans, including any Company-published Contractor Safety Programs provided to the contractor. Our HSSE team evaluates a contractor’s safety record to ensure its alignment with Equitrans’ safety focus by using the ISNetworld database, an industry recognized platform for the monitoring and evaluation of contractor safety performance and documentation. Our HSSE team utilizes the ISNetworld database to evaluate all contractors in the following areas:

  • Safety Management Systems
  • Injury and Illness Statistics
  • Written Safety Programs and Safety Training
  • Experience Modification Rating
  • Fatality History

In 2020, we fully integrated the ISP concept that supports ZIP Today into ISNetworld criteria by requiring contractors to maintain a proactive safety culture focused on ISP precursors. This addition of ISPs into our reporting system is aimed at increasing contractor accountability and safety awareness to align with our safety-above-all-else culture.

To further our commitment to contractor safety, Equitrans’ Contractor Safety Program and Contractor Safe Work Rules were expanded in 2020 to include and outline contractor qualifications and management regarding health and safety. All affiliated Equitrans contractors must undergo an ISNetworld rating, which is continuously reviewed and updated throughout the year. Contractors with a rating greater than ‘C’ are permitted to work on Equitrans job sites and facilities. If a contractor has a rating of ‘C’ or below, the contractor has 90 days to improve their rating to an ‘A’ or ‘B’ or submit an Improvement Plan. The Improvement Plan is based on deficiencies identified in their ISNetworld rating. If a rating is not improved to an ‘A’ or ‘B’ or an Improvement Plan is not submitted within 90 days, they are no longer permitted to work on any Equitrans job site or facility.

Contractors are also required to complete a federal Operational Qualification (OQ) plan. The OQ plan establishes qualification requirements for contractors performing work for our operations

Evaluating Our Safety Performance

It is critical that we continually evaluate our safety performance so that we can identify what we are doing well, what we can improve, and most importantly, where we are able to develop strategies to keep our employees and contractors safe. Accordingly, we continuously strive for improvement by evaluating and reviewing our policies and standard operating procedures. As part of our enterprise risk management process, we utilize a third party to annually audit our safety program and related procedures and recommend corrective actions based on our identified safety risks. In addition, we actively engage workers to evaluate opportunities to improve upon established safety processes. If an incident or observation does occur, we utilize our investigation process to identify the root cause. Our policies and procedures are then amended, and educational training is provided to our workforce based on the discoveries.

We empower our employees to provide feedback on issues regarding occupational health and safety and the development of management methods, including recommendations on safety policies and standard operating procedures based upon their own work experiences. Employees also engage in safety audits and assessments where they provide insight based upon their first-hand knowledge of our operations. To read more about our health and safety culture, please visit the sustainability webpages on our corporate site.

Year-Over-Year Safety Metrics Summary(1)

Metric

Employee Safety

Contractor Safety

 

2019

2020

2019

2020

Total Hours Worked

1,485,646

1,432,110

 9,010,775

3,780,204

Work-Related Total Mileage

5,881,436

4,166,042

16,971,871

16,397,800

Preventable Vehicle Accidents (PVAs)

8

10

11

3

Total Recordable Incident Rate (OSHA Recordables Rate)

0.81

0.7

0.42

0.32

Days Away, Restricted or Transferred (DART)

5

3

5

2

DART Rate

0.67

0.42

0.11

0.11

Incidents with Serious Potential for Injury (ISPs)

7

6

65

25

Fatalities

0

0

0

0

Fatality Rate

0

0

0

0

Recordable Work-Related Injuries

6

5

19

4

Work-Related Ill Health Fatalities

0

0

0

0

Recordable Cases of Work-Related Ill Health

0

0

0

2

Lost Time Incident Rate

0.67

0.14

0.09

0.00

Near Misses(2)

9

6

43

14

(1) Includes information for 100% of the Eureka Midstream assets; excludes MVP and MVP Southgate projects.

(2) In 2019, all safety observations were reported as “near misses.” Our Intelex app now classifies near misses and observations separately, and our 2019 totals for near misses have been restated.


In 2020, we made significant improvements in our safety performance due to our expansion of key programs and our heightened focus on our ISP, OSP, and CSO initiatives. For example, in 2020 we began including CSOs as part of our Short-Term Incentive Program (STIP) for all of our employees and initiated new education, awareness, and supervisor inspection protocols. We believe that our safety efforts contribute to Equitrans’ culture where every employee plays a key role in keeping one another safe.

Health & Wellness

Equitrans provides comprehensive health and wellness benefits to its employees and facilitates employee access to healthcare through the offering of a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP), which includes an annual deductible for each participating employee. Once the deductible is met, the plan pays 95 percent of eligible expenses in-network or 80 percent for out-of-network expenses. Additionally, the plan pays 100 percent of eligible preventive care expenses even if the deductible has not been met. The healthcare program covers all full-time employees, as well as part-time employees who work between 20 and 35 hours each week, and their eligible dependents. Coverage is effective on the first day of employment.

Employees enrolled in the healthcare program can also establish and contribute to a tax-effective Health Savings Account (HSA) to assist with part of the annual deductible or save for future healthcare expenses. Equitrans contributes to employee HSAs during their first year of employment with the Company. In subsequent years, employees can continue to receive HSA contributions from Equitrans, based on completion of annual wellness requirements.

Equitrans also offers dental and vision insurance for employees and their eligible dependents. For dental insurance, coverage provides comprehensive dental care services with in-network preventive services covered at 100 percent. For vision insurance, an eye exam once every calendar year is included along with specific allowances for lenses and contacts once every calendar year and eyeglass frames once every other calendar year.

Our Take Charge Wellness Program, managed in conjunction with an external wellness partner, offers wellness information, education, and special programs to employees and their family members on topics such as nutrition, fitness, safety, and disease prevention. The voluntary program also includes access to online wellness programs and resources as well as health coaching.

Equitrans offers an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) that provides employees and their families with counseling and guidance in a variety of areas including behavioral health concerns, personal and family issues, and legal assistance. Full-time employees and part-time employees who work between 20 and 35 hours each week are eligible for the EAP.

Full-time employees receive basic group term life insurance and accidental death and dismemberment insurance coverage. Additional contributory life insurance equal to one-, two-, three-, four-, or five-times base salary is available to employees at group rates. In addition, full-time employees are eligible for contributory spouse and child life insurance coverage, and Company-paid business travel accident insurance.

Short-term and long-term disability insurance is available to full-time employees. The duration and amount of the short-term disability payment is determined by the employee’s years of service. The long-term policy provides continuing income at a percentage of salary in effect at the time of disability and is offset by other benefits received due to disability. There is a buy-up option under the long-term disability policy.

Highlight Story

Our Sustainability Progress During 2020

As part of our sustainability journey, we embrace the opportunity to enhance the accountability and leadership mechanisms we leverage to ensure responsible practices across our operations. To reinforce our sustainability commitment, in 2020 Equitrans appointed its first Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO), Todd Normane.

Through his work, and together with several working groups, our CSO is advancing our management practices across our business. He sets our sustainability strategy, with a special focus on climate change given that it is one of the most critical topics our world is facing. During the past year, he has led the development of policies formalizing our commitment to responsible practices. Additionally, he collaborates with subject matter experts by leading our sustainability working groups to implement our strategy. To promote transparency regarding our initiatives, our CSO collaborates with our Communications team on our annual corporate sustainability report, disclosures on our corporate website, and our CDP Climate Change response.

In line with our commitment to strong sustainability practices, Equitrans recognizes the importance of transparency and continues to improve and expand on our related disclosures. We have always taken our environmental, social, and governance practices very seriously and we work to ensure that our stakeholders have access to information regarding our sustainability efforts. Most recently, we developed our new, sustainability-focused web pages that are prominently available on Equitrans’ corporate website, with associated topics easy to locate by using our new Sustainability navigation menu.

By disclosing information through our corporate site, and linking to our annual corporate sustainability reports, we enable more stakeholders to learn about our management practices and key data points, which are reflective of our commitment to sustainability.

To view sustainability information on our corporate website, please visit: www.equitransmidstream.com.

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Adapting to Change During the Pandemic

In connection with the COVID-19 pandemic, we have proactively undertaken and continued a number of companywide measures intended to promote the safety and health of field and office-based employees and contractors. Through these measures, the Company’s operations have been able to maintain a consistent level of effectiveness. In early March 2020, we established an Infectious Disease Response Team to manage our pandemic response efforts; implemented a mandatory work-from-home protocol for a significant majority of the Company’s employees; and instituted stringent pandemic-related working protocols, including mandatory face coverings and social distancing for field operations, where feasible. We also shared our Infectious Disease Response Plan with suppliers and contractors to ensure alignment of required working protocols across our operations.

Additional Company-wide efforts included eliminating non-essential business travel; implementing self-declaration forms to further protect our workforce; providing certain medical benefit enhancements; implementing strict office and fleet vehicle sanitation measures; and offering a list of preferred items for employees’ home office set-ups. In preparation for the future, post-pandemic, we conducted a Workplace Modernization Survey in June 2020, which had an outstanding 84% participation rate. The survey asked employees to rank their workplace preferences based on a set of three “workplace personas” (anchor, flex, and remote). The results of the survey have helped us to understand how and where our employees prefer to work, which is critical for the development of a long-term plan for Equitrans’ office needs.

Since implementing our many pandemic protocols, our E-Train employees have not missed a beat in continuing to safely operate our assets and our business. We have taken steps to ensure employees are actively engaged and informed by continually providing communication updates; producing a variety of video messages by our executive team; encouraging team-building events via our technology platforms; and delivering COVID-19 care packages to employees’ homes. The Company’s Infectious Disease Response Team continues to monitor and assist in implementing mitigation efforts in respect to potential areas of disease-related risk for the Company.

To learn more about employee safety, please visit: Occupational Health & Safety.

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Physical Security of Our Operations

The safety and security of our employees, our contractors and vendors, and our communities is of primary importance to Equitrans. Our security personnel work to be well-prepared to manage disruptive incidents and with safety as our top priority—above all else.

Since 2019, there has been a notable increase in opposition related to the fossil fuel industry. In response, in 2020 we launched a new training for all employees on what to do in the face of protests, sabotage, and vandalism. Individuals are directed to prioritize their safety and that of their co-workers, including contractors, and to report incidents and obtain help, including by calling Police, Fire, or EMS, as required. In addition, certain of our security guards received additional training on appropriate opposition response, such as legal requirements for the usage of body cameras; and the role law enforcement plays, if needed, in a response. We consistently evaluate opportunities to provide additional trainings as appropriate.  

Vigilance and proactive measures are critical to our maintaining security. We ask employees to pay attention to suspicious persons or vehicles, be mindful of broken locks or gates and the appearance of equipment that may have been tampered with or damaged, and to always remain vigilant about their surroundings. As a result of our safety trainings, we have increased our equipment inspections and continue to improve the overall safety of our assets and facilities.

As an example, a potential opposition incident occurred in October 2020 at a facility in Pennsylvania. At the end of the workday, staff leaving the facility observed several fully masked persons on the access road to the facility, and the group’s vehicles were observed to have out-of-state license plates. In recent years, there has been a trend regarding opposition groups—with observations noting that several site protests and/or equipment tampering incidents are being orchestrated by persons outside of the local communities.

In response to this incident, Equitrans security notified operations leadership and dispatched guards to provide fixed and roving patrol coverage of the facility. The Pennsylvania State Police were also notified and patrolled the area for additional support. It is also standard practice to share information regarding possible threats—and Equitrans released a message to the Marcellus Security Operators Coalition, a working group representing the physical security teams of member companies in the area. As a result of our security training and preparedness approach, no people were harmed, no equipment was damaged, and no further actions ensued from the potential threat incident.

To view security information, please visit: Security & Cybersecurity.

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Protecting Endangered Species

The United States has the highest biodiversity of freshwater mussels in the world and is home to more than 300 species of mussels. The aquatic organisms benefit their ecosystem through filtering water. As sedimentation, pollution, and climate change increase, the United State Fish & Wildlife Services (USFWS) has noticed a severe drop in mussels. Approximately 70 percent of American mussels are extinct or at risk of becoming extinct and 78 species are classified as federally endangered.

The linear nature of pipelines sometimes requires the crossing of aquatic resources, and Equitrans is mindful of the impact our projects could have on various sites and species and seeks to utilize additional precautionary measures to mitigate potential aquatic impacts. Certain of Equitrans’ pipeline assets in Pennsylvania and West Virginia are located in an area known for its abundance of mussels.

We are committed to working to preserve our nation’s mussel population and we take extra precautions in respect of freshwater systems near our operations. For example, prior to construction of one of our pipeline assets in Monongalia County, West Virginia, we reached out to the USFWS and discussed the procedures and additional precautions necessary to ensure our pipeline project would not affect mussel habitat in a particular locale. At relevant crossing locations along the pipeline route, Equitrans enlisted qualified malacologists to conduct mussel surveys. Immediately following the surveys, mussels were relocated to suitable habitat locations upstream. We also trained our employees on aquatic safety and the value of mussels to the area. Our efforts helped to preserve approximately 41 protected mussels in the area.

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Emergency Response & Preparedness

In early December 2020, a dehydration unit ignited in the early morning hours at the Equitrans Callisto Compressor Station, a natural gas gathering facility located in Greene County, Pennsylvania. No injuries were reported, and, in an abundance of caution, one home was temporarily evacuated. 

Upon notification of the incident, the Equitrans Crisis Team quickly convened. Our Operations and Safety and Compliance teams, working in conjunction with the Equitrans Crisis Team, determined that the ignition occurred due to an over-pressurization of one of the station’s dehydration units. This was confirmed by a review of the scene, as well as surveillance video at the station. 

As part of our response, Equitrans technicians were immediately dispatched and, once on site, began to implement necessary safety procedures, including the closing of appropriate valves to isolate the facility. The local volunteer fire department was also on site to assist with fire safety protocols.

Equitrans’ emergency procedures and closing of valves successfully allowed the primary fire to self-extinguish and all residual flames were extinguished by the fire department. Within a short time, the unit was fully isolated and depressurized and the incident was brought under control and the station locked down. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection was notified, and, as a courtesy, local township officials and the PA PUC received notification of the incident.

Once it was safe to do so, internal and external teams conducted a root cause investigation of the incident, as well as an environmental assessment of the facility and surrounding area. Our Crisis Team, with the assistance of our Legal department, also retained an independent third-party to assist in evaluation efforts and certain equipment was shared with the relevant vendor for further analysis. 

After reviewing the internal and external analyses and understanding the cause of the incident, the Crisis Team enlisted the assistance of our Corporate Compliance and Internal Audit teams to determine what measures, if any, could be implemented to minimize the risk of similar incidents from occurring in the future. Our Corporate Compliance group completed a full investigation of the processes that led to the incident and made recommendations to Internal Audit, which allowed for the refinement of existing procedures, such as valve inspections, valve repairs, and record keeping.

For more information on Pipeline Safety & Integrity, please visit: Pipeline Safety & Integrity.

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Commitment to Global Sustainability Frameworks

Like many other companies, Equitrans considers external sustainability guidance in determining the best management practices and methods for communicating information to our stakeholders. Last year, we incorporated the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standard and Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) Standards in our 2020 Corporate Sustainability Report. Since then, we have also committed to the inclusion of two additional frameworks as part of our management and reporting practices.

In 2021, we will submit our first CDP Climate Change response to provide additional transparency about our climate governance, strategy, risks, and opportunities. Providing this information to our investors, customers, and other stakeholders demonstrates our focus on mitigating our climate impact and preparing for the transition to a lower-carbon economy. Once published, a full copy of our CDP Climate Change response can be accessed on the Sustainability pages of our website.

Additionally, our recently released Stakeholder Engagement and Community Investment Policy signified our intention to operate in the spirit of United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In the near term, we intend to focus on the seven SDGs listed below, which we believe are most aligned with our business and operational footprint. We will continue to evaluate opportunities to focus on additional, relevant SDGs in the future.

Highlight Story

Supporting the Upper Mattaponi Indian Tribe

Strong community engagement is the cornerstone of Equitrans’ social license to operate. We recognize the importance of empowering the communities we serve and giving back to the populations with whom we are fortunate to connect with through our work. And we are not limiting our stakeholder engagement efforts to only our local communities – instead, we reach beyond our local footprint to identify opportunities to engage with additional cultural, historical, and environmental organizations.

As part of our ongoing commitment to community engagement, and in alignment with Equitrans’ Inclusion Program, we identified an opportunity to support the Upper Mattaponi Indian Tribe. The Upper Mattaponi Indian Tribe is located in King William County, Virginia, and boasts a strong history of caring for its local population.

“I and the citizens of the Upper Mattaponi Indian Tribe are ecstatic to finally have a piece of property along the banks of the Mattaponi River, a river that made it possible for us to survive for thousands of years by offering bountiful fish and wildlife to feed our forefathers for so many generations,” said W.Frank Adams, Chief, Upper Mattaponi Indian Tribe. “It has been at least two hundred years since the tribe has owned property along our beloved river and I want to thank Equitrans for helping to make this dream come true.”

Chief Adams continued,“We have a lot of ideas and plans for this property, including a nice escape for our tribal citizens, as well as being able to offer a sacred place for some of our tribal rituals. Our long-term goal is to establish a kayak launch and cabins along this section of the river to provide our citizens a place to connect with the river that was our namesake.”

Equitrans provided support for the Tribe’s ongoing social programs and environmental resource preservation, which efforts promote the health and strength of the community. Through our relationship, Equitrans hopes to be a trusted community partner and to support the Upper Mattaponi Indian Tribe’s continued well-being. We look forward to further developing similar types of important partnerships and connections in the future.

For more information on the Upper Mattaponi Indian Tribe, please visit: The Upper Mattaponi Indian Tribe.

Highlight Story

Safety – Above All Else

In January 2020, Equitrans’ construction personnel were tasked with excavating a pipeline asset at an Equitrans’ compressor facility that was built in the early 1900s.

Following industry-recognized best practices, a One Call was placed, and our Operations team marked the location of the underground gas lines in the area. Additionally, station drawings were examined to identify any potential underground utilities. During the line excavation process, an unidentified conduit that was supplying power for lighting was struck. The conduit separated at a coupler and exposed 110-volt wiring inside. Two spotters were present at the time of the strike and the crew was utilizing a probe rod to assist in identifying unknown objects in the area.

The event underscored the need to always remain vigilant when conducting excavation work, as well as during any type of construction or operational activity, and was a reminder that there are inherent risks in excavating older, legacy stations. For example, there is a potential for imprecise drawings and/or unknown underground utilities. Because of the implementation of our Incidents with Serious Potential (ISP) concept, we undertook a review process and evaluated procedural changes in light of the incident, even though the incident only involved the accidental striking of a conduit with 100-volt wiring and the crew was following applicable procedures and policies.

To mitigate excavation-related risk in the future, a more comprehensive process was designed and implemented for excavating in not only legacy facilities, but all Equitrans facilities. In addition to our standard One Call, drawing review, and pot-holing techniques, an extensive Simultaneous Operations (SIMOPS) procedure is now being used in conjunction with soft digging techniques to further minimize the risk of striking unidentified underground assets. This new process was the catalyst for our 2021 Instrument Air Conversion Project safety plan that is in the final stages of completion, exemplifying our commitment to Safety—above all else.

For more information on Occupational Health & Safety, please visit: Occupational Health & Safety.

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