Minutes: 21st November 2019 – Drilling Equipment

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There were 21 members and guests present at the meeting. Robert Bradford introduced Jon Christie a Health and Safety Advisor from BAM Ritchies who is the Chairman of the British Drilling Association (BDA) as well as being a representative on the BSI centre for EU normalisation which then brings together EU standards on the way to becoming ISO standards; currently they are working on EN 16228: Drilling and Foundation Equipment which is being revised.

The BDA was founded in 1976 and covers all sections of drilling except oil and gas and has representatives from all aspects of the industry including manufacturers and consulting engineers. The aim of the organisation is to improve health and safety and to establish a minimum standard that companies work too. The majority of the membership work in ground investigation and geotechnical areas. The BDA produces documents that are essential for those working in the industry including clients with the main document being the Health and Safety Manual although other guidance documents are also available. The BDA have also developed an NVQ covering drilling operations and member companies are regularly audited to ensure they meet minimum standards. Members of the drill crew should now all hold relevant CSCS cards for the operations they are undertaking.

The BDA run technical standards to keep industry up to date with developments in the industry and during meetings fully analyse incidents to ensure that member companies are aware of issues, information on incidents is then used to influence the standards committees such as EN 16228. Due to the influence of the BDA standards have been improved on shell and auger rigs where secondary winches have been introduced minimising the risk of collapse during erection and dismantling. They are also heavily involved in ensuring that guarding standards for rotary rigs are continuously improved. Drilling and blasting operations have recently become part of the remit of the BDA who now work closely with the Mineral Products Qualifications Council.

When working in drilling operations there are two types of rig that you are likely to encounter Shell and auger also known as cable percussion rigs (look like a tripod) and rotary rigs.

When working with a shell and auger rig clients should understand what they are looking at (BDA guidance can help with this).
When working with cable percussive rigs the rig should be sitting on a level surface and the horizontal bars (spreader aside stays) at ground level and above head hide should be fived in place using pins and R clips. Guards should be fitted over the open winch drum and clutch plate assembly but remember that the rope has to be able to freely move so the gap may be bigger than you expect. Older machines are having these guards retrofitted. At the top of the mast there should be a loop to prevent the wire rope from jumping off the pulley wheel. Secondary winches have been in use for many years so rigs should no longer be in use without these.

When a rotary rig turns up on site there should be guards in place to prevent people becoming entangled in any rotating parts. Generally these guards should be fitted with interlocked guards and the guards should cover all rotating parts (check when drilling inclined or horizontal holes that the guarding is adequate). In vertical drilling a space is permitted at the bottom of the mast and the guard should be positioned to prevent people from reaching over the top to the rotating shaft. The interlocked guard should stop rotation very quickly but not immediately as this may cause damage to the machine. In some circumstances for example when another drilling rod is being added to the drill string the operator will have to enter the area. In this case there should be a system in place to allow the rod to be screwed in place at very low rotation speeds. This control has various other controls built in to discourage use of the rig with the guard open.

The BDA is developing a guidance document to cover key points that clients should be aware of when a drill rig turns up on site.

Robert thanked Jon for his presentation before moving on to other business.

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