Personal protective equipment (PPE) is an important component of any drilling site. Whether it’s geothermal heating and cooling drilling, water well drilling or pavement coring, there are a number of hazards to protect against. Eye and face PPE is designed to prevent or lessen the severity of injuries to workers. While engineering or work practice controls are the first line of defense for providing a safe work environment, choosing the right eye and face protection for the job is also essential.
There are many options when it comes to eye and face protection, as long as the equipment is ANSI-approved. The PPE used on a job site depends on the specific hazards the crew will encounter, but here are just a few of the most common concerns involved with drilling jobs:
- Dust and Small Particles: Nearly every drilling job will produce dust and other potentially harmful particles. The type of eye and face protection best for drilling in dry ground or pavement conditions would be non-ventilated goggles to prevent harmful dust and particles entering the eye. Workers should also consider respirators when dust and particulate matter are abundant.
- Flying Objects: The rotating drill poses a threat of ejecting dirt clods, rocks, twigs and other items when boring into the ground. If the job site involves pavement coring, there is also a chance of chunks of the cement becoming projectiles. Goggles with direct, indirect or no ventilation are acceptable and may be worn with a full face shield or full-face respirator.
- Liquid Splashing: Drilling operations use many different fluids on the job site. From gasoline for refueling the rig to water and mud pumped out during water well drilling, splash hazards require a different type of protection. At the least, indirect vent goggles are required to protect the eyes from splashing. A full face shield is also recommended if there’s a chance of a chemical burn on the drill site.
Each drilling job is unique and poses its own hazards and risks. These are just guidelines to the type of eye and face protection needed for different dangers, but every job needs to be evaluated separately to determine the best way to keep the crew and anyone on site safe from injury. Check out the OSHA PPE Assessment materials for more information on all the protective equipment that may be needed for geothermal, pavement core or water well drilling.