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DrillSafe Articles

Safety information and collaboration forum for the exploration drilling industry in Southern Africa.

What should be guarded on a drill rig?

Drill Safe

By Colin Rice

Colin Rice Exploration Drilling Advisory -


Drill rigs and drill sites are hazardous areas and so it is important that contractors make an effort to prevent injuries caused by people making contact with rotating, moving or hot components of the drill rig.


This is the second article in Part 1 of our Technical Series on Guarding and Safeguarding. Click here for an outline of the entire Technical Series on Guarding and Safeguarding.

It is generally accepted that all rotating, moving or hot components of the drill rig should be adequately guarded – the rotation head, quillrod, rod clamp, break-out devices, main hoist, wireline winch, utility winch, exhaust pipe, silencer, hydraulic hoses to which people are exposed, pulleys and belts are some of the components that probably should be guarded.


Earthen sumps, should also be barricaded to prevent access.

In addition, because the mast extends above the working level, we must also ensure that there is adequate protection for the driller and drill crew in the event that something falls from height.

It is important that when deciding what components must be guarded, we are also practical. A winch mounted on the mast that is at a height that makes the winch inaccessible to a person standing at ground level does not, in my opinion, need to be guarded. Similarly, an exhaust pipe or silencer mounted at a height that makes it inaccessible from ground level also need not be guarded. We therefore must be reasonable and practical when deciding on what components to guard and we must also be practical in the design of the guard

Do you know what characteristics an effective guard should have? Read the next article to learn more about these criteria.

Other articles in THE Guarding and Safeguarding SERIES