Seminar: Breakage of Underground Infrastructure: What are the Associated Socio-Economic Costs? What are the Risks for Workers?


Friday 5 Apr 2019
From 11AM To 1PM

Event organized in collaboration with

Today, lack of knowledge of the precise location of underground infrastructure networks (telecommunications, electricity, gas, water ...) as well as poor excavation techniques lead to many accidents when working near these networks.

In Quebec, there are more than 5 broken underground infrastructures on average per day (44% of which involve natural gas or electricity). While the costs of repairing a network are relatively easy to identify, indirect costs are difficult to quantify and rarely taken into account in work or prevention decisions. The seminar thus proposes an evaluation of all indirect costs (service interruption, congestion, intervention of emergency services, delay in the work, loss of reputation, etc.).

In addition, these infrastructure failures endanger workers by exposing them to serious injuries and sometimes life-threatening situations. The seminar identified the risks to which workers are exposed in the event of breakage of underground pipes and the factors that increase the likelihood that these risks will occur. In fact, it is important to better understand the risks in order to better adapt awareness-raising efforts and better target prevention measures for workers.


Consult the executive summary of the report "Identifying Occupational Health And Safety Risks Related To Damages To Underground Infrastructures"

Denis Courchesne

President and CEO, Info Excavation

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Nathalie de Marcellis-Warin

A CIRANO Researcher and Fellow since 2003, Nathalie de Marcellis-Warin has been President and Chief Executive Officer of CIRANO since 2016, has been leading the Baromètre CIRANO project on risk perception in Quebec, which annually collects data on Quebecers' concerns on 47 social issues since 2011, is responsible of the CIRANO Pole on the Socio-economic Impacts of Digital Innovation and AI and Main Researcher of the theme Innovation and Digital Transformation. Nathalie de Marcellis-Warin is Full Professor in the Department of Mathematics and Industrial Engineering at Polytechnique Montréal. She is also a Visiting Scientist at Harvard T. Chan School of Public Health and an associate researcher at the Institute for Data Valorization (IVADO).

Holder of a Ph.D. in Management Science (in risks and insurance management) from École normale supérieure de Cachan, her research interests focus on risk management and decision-making in different risks and uncertainty contexts as well as public policies. Her research combines economic analysis, cost-benefit analysis, survey data analysis, and more recently massive unstructured data analysis.

In 2008 she created the RISQH network to raise awareness and share experiences on risks management, and patient safety and quality of care in health care facilities.

She participated in the creation of the Montreal Declaration for a Responsible Development of AI.

She is also co-PI of the "Monitoring and Surveys" function at the International Observatory on the Societal Impacts of AI and Digital Technology.

She has published numerous scientific articles, several books and more than 30 reports for government and other organizations. She has given more than a hundred conferences and is regularly solicited to speak in the media.

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Ingrid Peignier

Ingrid Peignier is Senior Director of Partnerships and Research Valorization and Projects Director at CIRANO.

A graduate engineer from École des Mines d'Alès in France and holder of a master's degree in industrial engineering from Polytechnique Montréal, her fields of expertise mainly involve the identification, evaluation, management and communication of risks in various fields such as the transportation of hazardous materials and underground infrastructure failures.

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11:00 - 11:15
11:15 - 11:20
Welcoming Remarks
11:20 - 11:35
Context in Quebec
Denis Courchesne
11:35 - 12:15
Presentation of the two CIRANO studies
12:15 - 13:00
Networking Lunch


1130 Rue Sherbrooke Ouest, Montréal, QC H3A 2M8, Canada

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