The assessment of safe training

Romulus Training’s Glen Riley takes GDI through what an assessor looks for during the site visit needed to gain the UK qualification Land Drilling NVQ level 2, based upon his company’s interpretation of the ACOP and HSE guidelines.
The assessment of safe training The assessment of safe training The assessment of safe training The assessment of safe training The assessment of safe training

All aspects of site safety will be assessed

Glen Riley

Training is now an integral part of the career development path for anyone entering the drilling industry but what is that training working towards? What do the assessors look for when deciding if trainees have done enough to gain the UK Land Drilling NVQ (National Vocational Qualification) level 2? The main aim of a site visit by an assessor is to observe the trainee at work and collect evidence to demonstrate competency operating the rigs.

At the start of the assessment, the preparedness of the trainee is immediately noted. This involves checking that the correct personal protective equipment (PPE) is being worn by the driller and the 2nd man. Hard hats, gloves, goggles, safety boots or safety wellington boots, high-viz tops and ear defenders (especially when doing SPT/CPTs/U1oo/hammering in casing or rig working under load where noise levels exceed 85dba) all need to be worn on site.

Around the site itself, from a safety point of view, the assessor will be looking for a fire extinguisher (blue/dry powder general purpose) and a first aid kit. It should be noted that first aid regulations also require the driller to have 1L of saline eye wash when there is no running water supply - so an eye wash kit (two x 400ml bottles) should be kept on site.

There needs to be a spill mat underneath engine and spill nappies and wipes on site along with a spill kit when refuelling, a funnel, COSHH data and sheets included in the RAMS.

The assessor will be looking for evidence that daily maintenance checks are carried out every morning before drilling starts and that they are recorded. In addition, test certificates and service records for the rig and ancillary equipment should be supplied to the assessor, too.

Continuing with the theme of paperwork the assessor will require the trainee to have the RAMS, health and safety plans, emergency plans, environmental policies and procedures, borehole log, first aid policies available. Then there needs to be proof that all necessary inductions have taken place and been signed-off alongside health and safety briefings, TB talks, traffic management, permit to dig, work systems. All of this can be given to the assessor at the site or sent via email.

As the practical aspect of the assessment gets underway the drill crew need to show they can safely start the rig with the electric starter or if it is a cable percussion (CP) rig using a starting handle. Obviously, the next stage is to show that the emergency stop button work, too.

Next will be an examination of the remotely operated winch mounted on the CP rig for setting up/down of the rig if fitted and that the driller can work at height when wearing the appropriate safety harness to climb up the mast. That the rig rope can be used to set up and lower down the CP rig safely will also need to be demonstrated.

Continuing with the safety line the assessor will expect it to be attached as recommended when the CP rig is up and operating to anchor/secure the mast, when on unstable ground or near railway lines or near high-speed traffic lanes. The spreader bars must have the appropriate pins and securing clips or nut and bolt in on all three bars on the A-frame. A safety system or ‘doddybar' system to stop the rope coming across and hitting the driller on the hand or across the face if the site requires it will need to be evident.

The assessor will be looking to see that the work area is kept clean and tidy during the working day

It is the duty of the lead driller to ensure that all safety guards and protective devices are fitted and in sound condition and comply with the requirements of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment (PUWER). The assessor will also expect to not see anything left hanging above driller/2nd man's head when working underneath the winch ropes, such as the casing head SPT hammer when screwing the casing on or off.

No person should be allowed inside the work area of the A-frame when SPT/CPT/U100 samples are being taken, this applies mainly to 2nd men and clients and any other people on the site.

The assessor will be looking to see that the work area is kept clean and tidy during the working day and that no trip hazards like waste spoil, tools, casing etc. are left on the ground.

There should be three timbers under the skid, with the middle timber directly under pivot point, if needed on the site set up.

Other aspects of the site and job that will be considered by the assessor on the day include a physical examination of the working condition of the rig, in addition to the documentation previously mentioned. Any cable percussion, rotary, or windowless sampling rig must be thoroughly examined and certificated by a competent person at least every 12 months in accordance with the service requirements and comply with the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER). If any repair has been carried out to the mast legs or braces, a new inspection certificate is required. The exhaust should be designed to direct dangerous exhaust gases away from the lead driller's working position.

Work areas around the rig should be surrounded by cones/barriers or fenced off to prevent members of the public and other employees on site from entering the working areas of the rigs.

The staff member being assessed will need to know how to and be expected to demonstrate the use of the C.A.T. on site around the work area location of any supply services and underground obstructions.

In conclusion, what an assessor is looking out for during the assessment/observations is that the driller/2nd man is working safely and is competent at the job they are doing, that they are wearing all the PPE recommended by their employer and HSE on site.

All companies must follow the HSE guidelines and approved code of practice (ACOP). 


Glen Riley is the operations director at Romulus Training, which works with over 60 companies across the UK delivering NVQs in the geotechnical, construction and highways industries from level 2 up to and including level 7

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