The need to use directional drilling, especially Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD), in urban areas has increased a lot over time. As a result, there have been lots of discussions about public safety. Even though equipment manufacturers have done a lot to increase the safety of drilling equipment, there are still few reported cases of contractor deaths during HDD operations.
The role of the engineering community in design stage safety is to make sure that the projects designed can be installed using HDD and that they maximize the safety of the project without testing the limits of technology. In order to achieve project specific safety equipment, the engineering community has the mandate to do the following:
- Use a contractor who has experience in vacuum excavation to make requests and confirmations about utility location in the design stage. As a result, the designed project will have taken into consideration the utility present at the site.
- Hire an expert to conduct a study on the geology of the location in question. This will help when it comes to making choices about the tooling and fluid mixtures. As a result, the project will have a lower likelihood of failing.
These are precautions that should be implemented during the project design stage. In order to maximize on security, there are also measures that should be taken during the HDD process. To start with, all HDD companies are supposed to have safety policies that create a safety culture for all their employees. The first of these precautions should be the use of the appropriate safety gear during the entire drilling process.
Before the boring process starts, the contractors are supposed to conduct a site walk through. This should be coupled with a risk evaluation. Ideally, the evaluation should include overhead, surface and below surface hazards. This will help reduce the occurrence of unforeseen accidents. During the inspection, electrical wiring, gas meters, manholes and transformer meters will provide crucial reconnaissance information.
Planning the boring process is also part of the safety mechanisms to be employed. There is a number of bore planning software that can assist in the process. When the path is well implemented, it will be easier to avoid an accident. Also, keep a driller's logbook; this will give you added insurance that you are following the laid out boring path.
You need to make sure that all your operations are insured. This will cover your liability in case an accident does happen during the boring process. However, if you take into consideration the safety precautions mentioned when planning and implementing an HDD process, you will not have issues with accidents.