SIMCO Safety Series: Avoid These Hazards of Rig Repair

Injuries and accidents can occur on the drilling site, in the equipment shop, or even on the road. One setting that is often overlooked when talking about drilling crew safety is during rig repair. Following are a number of activities that pose potential risk – and how to avoid them and prevent injuries, whether you’re in the field or on company property.

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If you need to perform rig repair while on the job site, it’s not always possible to control your work area. But there are steps you can take to stay safe:

  • Watch out for snakes, vegetation, insects and other wildlife. You can wear appropriate PPE that includes long sleeves and pants, leather gloves, and sturdy footwear.
  • Sometimes weather and extreme temperatures can be threatening. It’s important to take breaks and stay properly fed and hydrated. If possible, make adjustments to the schedule to work around oppressive heat, volatile weather, or dangerously low temperatures.
  • Vehicle traffic can pose a threat to your crew, and pedestrian traffic can be put in harm’s way while you perform repairs. Use traffic control devices like cones and flags, wear high-visibility clothing such a reflective vest, use a spotter when backing, and let the site owner, attendant, and/or manager know where you will be and what you will be working on.
  • Any vehicle with wheels holds the potential of rolling, whether the surface is flat or at an incline. Crews need to make sure every vehicle and piece of equipment is properly chocked so the wheels remain stationary. This keeps anyone walking, standing, or driving near the rig safe from unintended movement.

There are also hazards to be aware of when working on the drilling rig in a garage or interior work space.

  • Keeping the work area and all walkways clear of debris and excess material will lift the threat of injury from trips and falls.
  • All work surfaces should be kept dry if possible to avoid slips.
  • If wet walking surfaces can’t be avoided, install rough surface covers and encourage employees to wear non-slip rubber boots or other appropriate PPE.
  • Use plugs and caps on open oil lines and lay plastic sheeting under the work area to avoid spills.
  • Enforce a policy of no running and remind employees to be aware of footing when there are uneven surfaces.

Some rig repair safety measures hold true, no matter where the repair is being performed. Many of the following suggestions can carry over to other situations and will lessen the possibility of serious injuries.

  • The number one way to protect yourself is to wear proper PPE. Cut resistant gloves, safety glasses, face shields, non-slip or steel-toed boots are the first line of defense.
  • Turn off the ignition, remove the key, and disconnect battery cables to avoid electric shock.
  • Enforce no smoking near the rig repair area and keep a type ABC, 20-lb. fully charge fire extinguisher on site.
  • Bend and lift using the legs and arms instead of the back, and always enlist help when you need to remove or install heavy parts.
  • Protect yourself from pinch injuries to your hands and fingers by observing all safety standards, and place a block between the head and the mast to keep it from moving.

The need for rig repairs can – and do – happen at any time, in any place. By keeping your crew and all employees familiar with potential hazards in the field or in the shop, you can establish a culture of safety and protect your greatest resource.

For more information about SIMCO Drilling Equipment, call 800-338-9925 or fill out our online form today!