The extraction of minerals and petroleum requires heavy equipment, good planning, and trained workers to achieve success and safety. Safe procedures for excavations, drilling, trenching, and shoring ensure that the extraction can be done safely without cave-ins, engulfment hazards, or other accidents.

Before starting an excavation or drilling operation, study the worksite and plan the extraction procedures. Choose a worksite with easy access and stable ground for working. Improve the site, if necessary, by clearing vegetation and debris, or leveling the work area. Watch for overhead hazards such as trees, electrical lines, and bridges. Plan drainage and storage of process, rain, and flood waters on the site.

Clear the work area of loose rocks, stumps, etc. that could slide or move unpredictably when operations begin. Use safety barriers, flags, or safety lines to prevent falls from platforms, down steep slopes, or into old excavation areas. Good housekeeping on the jobsite prevents slips, trips, and falls. Use dust control measures such as water and/or sealant applications to control dust on the site. Keep firefighting, emergency equipment, and first aid supplies available.

Large extraction equipment like excavators and drilling rigs should be inspected and maintained properly. Choose equipment that is sized and powered for the job at hand. Use stable and level land for the excavator or drilling rig. Level the site or use stabilizers if needed. Don’t undercut soil under the equipment during operations. Only trained and experienced operators should operate excavation and drill rigs.

Excavation workers need personal protective equipment (PPE), such as hard hats, eye and hearing protection, as well as steel-toed boots. Operators need special training and knowledge of the lift capacity and range of the equipment they use. Ground workers near mobile equipment need high-visibility clothing. Know the operating range of the excavator bucket and keep clear of it. Maintain eye contact with the operator when you are near equipment. Be aware of the potential for slipping or unplanned movement of the bucket if there is excessive, lateral, or prying force applied. Only work near the bucket operation if it is absolutely necessary.

Drill crew workers need training and supervised experience with specialized activities like raising or lowering rods, casing a drill pipe, attaching hoist plugs, or setting clamps on rod joints. Keep your body parts away from rotating equipment. Wear a hard hat, eye and hearing protection, and steel-toed, non-slip boots as PPE. Don’t wear loose clothing on or near the rig. Don’t climb a rig mast with tools in your hand; use a tool bag and lanyards. Only perform rig maintenance when equipment is offline.

During drilling operations, check that winching and hoisting equipment is in good condition. Keep guards over moving parts like rotating rods, pulleys, belts, gears, and shafts. Hoses, couplings, and connectors should be in good working order. High pressure hoses need chains and whip checks to control unplanned movement. Hydraulic clamps and rod-handling equipment can prevent ergonomic injuries by assisting with heavy, repetitive movements.

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The above evaluations and/or recommendations are for general guidance only and should not be relied upon for medical advice or legal compliance purposes. They are based solely on the information provided to us and relate only to those conditions specifically discussed. We do not make any warranty, expressed or implied, that your workplace is safe or healthful or that it complies with all laws, regulations or standards.

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