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Hazard Alerts

Latest industry incidents - unofficial

Drill Safe

One of the primary objectives of DrillSafe is the sharing of information. We do this through the technical and legal articles that we publish but a critically important source of learning comes from incident and accident reports, where we extract the learning from the accident so that we can help to prevent repeats of the accident. We are not interested in where the accident happened, the name of the contractor or the make of drill rig used – all we want is to extract from the information what could help prevent a repeat. 


Unfortunately, some companies have a policy not to share safety information and so we do not receive “official” notification of incidents or accidents from these companies, we do however get information in an “unofficial” way. This is not ideal because we do not have full information and so analysis of what really caused the accident is not possible. We believe however that it is still important to share what we know about the accidents.

In the past few weeks we have been made aware of the following accidents:

  1. Snapped hoist ropes: A contractor snapped hoist ropes on two occasions – on neither occasion was anyone injured but on both occasions the drillstring parted resulting in complex fishing jobs. It is understood that the contractor was trying to hoist a a drillstring of HQ drill rod significantly beyond the safe working load of the steel hoist rope.

  2. Drill rig assistant suffered a severe laceration to his hand when a quill rod slipped: While tripping drill rods the rotation head of the drill rig was slid away of the feed frame with the quill rod was held in the hydraulic chuck. While the driller was pulling a length of drill rod, a drill rig assistant placed his right hand onto the hydraulic cylinder used to activate the jaws of the rod clamp. The driller inadvertently opened the chuck and the HQ quill rod dropped onto the assistant’s hand causing a severe laceration.

  3. Assistant fatally injured: A person working on a drill rig was fatally injured when he was struck on the head by the handle of a clamp jaw. The assistant connected the rope of a utility winch to the handle of a large clamp jaw in an effort to pull the jaw out and away from a length of casing that it was supporting. The immense weight of the casing prevented the jaw from releasing and so increased load was put on the utility winch. The handle of the jaw suddenly snapped and due to the recoil of the wire rope it flew a considerable distance into the air. The handle fell back and struck the assistant on the head causing what later proved to be a fatal injury.

  4. Trailer mounted drill rig runs away: The “A” frame of a trailer mounted diamond core drilling rig snapped causing the drill rig to roll backwards down a ramp in an open cast mine. The drill missed several other vehicles as it rolled down the ramp and eventually came to rest against a berm.

  5. Waterswivel spindle fails: The spindle of a waterswivel snapped, apparently due to fatigue. Fortunately, the hoist rope of the hydraulic longstroke drill rig was attached to the waterswivel and so it did not fall.

Please help us generate safety awareness information in the industry to prevent repeats. Please share your safety incidents and accidents with us. Our aim is to share the learning from the incident so that we can help prevent it from happening again. The details on how to provide us with incident and accident reports are here.