How to Drill and Avoid Property Damage and Human Injury in HDD Projects

texas directional drillingDo you need trenchless underground boring for your gas lines or other utility lines? Do you know how to install utility lines without damaging other utilities? Safety is essential when conducting horizontal directional drilling.

Failure to identify existing utilities on your project can lead to electrocution, gas line strikes and property damage. It may also cause equipment damage, injuries, and in some instances death. So, what should you do to secure your worksite?

Here is a blog post that presents to you some of the vital safety precautions that directional drilling contractors observe during HDD projects to prevent any property damage, injury, or fatalities.

Safety Practices Observed By Texas Directional Drilling Contractors During Projects

Texas directional drilling sites require utility locates to be good before beginning a HDD project.  Texas directional drilling operators and support staff take the following steps to guarantee some safety during work:

1. Utility Marking and Exposure

Texas directional boring contractors always identify, expose, and mark utilities crossing the drilling path to avoid damaging them. Utility locations are marked with flags or paint. When the drilling path is parallel to an existing utility line, the drilling contractors have to establish a broader clearance. This move helps you to avoid damaging existing underground utilities during trenchless technology projects. 

2. Directional Boring Precautions

During the drilling process, Texas directional drilling crews maintain a 3 foot minimum clearance typically from existing utilities. The drilling crew should stay away from the rotating drill string to avoid injury to boring crew members.  Shoring should also be installed in bore pits deeper than 4 feet.

3. Maintenance of Safe Clearances

Boring contractors should maintain a safe clearance space between existing utility lines and the bore pipe as stipulated by authorities in the construction and engineering industry. These clearances avoid property and utility line damage while; improving the safety of workers.

4. Optimal equipment operation

The drilling standards need the drilling crew to operate the bore rig without exceeding the thrust/pullback and torque capacity of the bore rig to avoid equipment damage.

5. Installation and reaming precautions

During the reaming and installation process, the drilling crew should maintain two-way radio communication between the bore rig operator and the locater to ensure proper underground utility installation. Directional drill crew should also stay out of bore pits while directional drill operator is on the boring rig.  The workers are also required to stay away from rotating drill stem.

What Do Personnel Do During a Response Event?

When workers strike existing utility lines during drilling, emergency steps should be initiated to prevent further property damage or injury. Here are some of the safety procedures that they take to control such situations.

Gas Line Strike

The drilling crew should always evacuate the worksite once a gas line gets struck. The drill operator should contact 911 and the gas company immediately while clearing the area.

Electrical Line Strike

All workers should get advice to avoid touching any drilling equipment if a power line gets struck. The components of the machine may have some charge, and they can deliver some shock. Workers should also avoid moving around because the voltage difference between the ground and equipment may cause electrocution. The operator should always be advised to follow ideal safety procedures before dismounting the drill.  

Communication or Fiber Optic Cable Strike

When a fiber optic cable strike happens, the workers should avoid it as much as possible and contact the fiber company immediately. Trenchless drilling of utility lines can be costly when strikes occur.  HDD is a less hazardous exercise for companies as opposed to open cut in areas with lots of underground utility lines.

The high risk of injury, death, and property damage can only be overcome by following the set safety precautions. As such, all HDD contractors should learn about all the vital safe work practices in directional drilling.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *