WorldWide Drilling Resource

18 DECEMBER 2021 WorldWide Drilling Resource ® RENEW - SUBSCRIBE NOW! Environmental Monitoring by Thomas Kwader, Ph.D., P.G. Owner, Qwater Well Developer and WorldWide Drilling Resource ® Hydrogeologist Safety First, and Always Our Top Priority! Well drilling is inherently a dangerous profession; however, we have made great strides in making our work much safer in the last 30 or so years. Unfortunately, almost all of us know people who have been severely injured or died as a result of rushing to carelessly finish a job. I have been involved in almost all aspects of the industry, performing various duties since the 1970s as a licensed geologist, drill operator, regulator, consultant, and safety foreman. Many improvements have been made in both efficiency and safety. Most drilling firms con- ducting commercial or industrial work must maintain a good safety record to obtain insurance and to qualify for many types of commercial drilling contracts. In addition to a good safety record, annual safety training and a documented safety record is a “must”. Most drilling jobs now have a Health and Safety Plan (HASP) that addresses protocols to help eliminate bad work habits such as lifting heavy loads, heat exhaustion, exposure to excessive noise, chemical, or vapor exposure, etc. These protocols serve to minimize catastrophic accidents, as well as long-term health issues that could take many days, weeks, or even years to “feel” the health effects. Technology has also evolved to make drilling safer by allowing us to monitor noise levels, high pressures, radiation levels, etc. The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) and many other agencies require most injuries be reported, which could result in a disqualification of a company receiving future work from governmental agencies or industrial govern- ment-funded jobs until such time as the number and severity of accidents are reduced to commensurate with the drilling pro- fession for the type of work being performed. Taking high risks is simply not worth the gamble of sustaining a severe injury or possible death. Drilling companies should all allow, and even encourage, each employee to stop all risky behavior or refuse to do certain tasks if there is a legitimate concern about the safety of conducting any task that could be conducted in a safer manner. Drilling supervisors should also encourage and reward safe working practices. Each day should begin with a safety meet- ing to review: 1) What are we about to do? 2) What could go wrong? 3) What can we do to make it safer? Tom Tom Kwader may be contacted via e-mail to ENV