Directional boring and drilling provides an efficient way to drill into the ground for pipes without having to dig a big trench. It saves time, money, and resources, but it also needs to be done right. The safety of your workers and the land itself needs to be top priority. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind during directional boring.
Use High-Quality Equipment
Before you start directional boring, make sure you have the best equipment available. This is not an area where you want to try to cut costs and get low or medium-quality drilling equipment. Before you even start training your workers on the drilling process, start by finding the proper equipment. This includes everything from the navigators to the drills and drill heads. You also need to have safety equipment available for your workers and inspect it before each day before drilling. This includes proper clothing with good visibility and hand, hearing, and eye protection.
Know Where the Utilities Are
An integral part of directional drilling is knowing exactly where the utilities are at all times. You definitely don't want to accidentally hit a gas or water line, as that is going to cause a lot of problems, not to mention be a safety hazard for your workers. You will start by marking the utilities on the surface, and then expose these utilities during the drilling process. Typically, you would use navigators that are going to help you look for and expose the utilities along the way. Flags or other markers can be used in order to know where the underground utilities are located. When you know where the utilities are, you can then drill parallel to them.
Have Excellent Communication
For proper safety during directional boring or drilling, establish excellent communication between the tracking operator and the drilling operator. These two people need to work together so that drilling is not done where utilities have been tracked. Have two-way radios available with a list of commands that are short, but easy to identify. Practice with the different commands, such as 'rotate' beforehand and make sure both operators know what is expected of them.
Know When to Evacuate
Even with all the right precautions, the drilling operator might accidentally hit a gas line. If this happens, it is important that you stop what you are doing and evacuate the area. Call the emergency number you have for these types of situations, but don't move the equipment or pull the drill string. This could ignite a fire and cause an explosion. Evacuate to a safe place and wait for emergency personnel to arrive to assess what needs to be done next.