Guidance for the Operation of Cable Percussion Rig and Equipment

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Tags: BDA news

The Guidance for the Operation of Cable Percussion Rig and Equipment which was driven by HS2 has been recently published by The British Drilling Association. The guidance sets the benchmark for people who wish to be involved in percussion cable rigs.

This publication was extensively revised and rewritten by the BDA in 2016. The guidance now covers all aspects of CP drilling, including safety (HSE have reviewed and endorsed) and is essential for anyone involved in operating, procuring, organising and supervising cable percussion (shell & auger) boring.

The guidance is free to BDA members and £150 for Non-Members.

Click here to purchase the guidance

Report Safety

Safety Group Report

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Julian Lovell, Chairman, AGS Safety Working Group writes:

Below is the latest report from our Safety Group which this quarter has been tackling issues on guidance, the new CDM regulations and collaboration with the British Drilling Association (BDA).

AGS Safety Guidance

The working group has been working consistently to progress the guidance available to the industry. Progress has been steady throughout the year. Most guidance goes through two if not three reviews which effectively means 3 to 6 months from initial draft and the most effective reviews are carried out by the committee either in a face to face meeting or on one occasion an on-line meeting.

Guidance which has been published since the last meeting:

  • Use of Scaffolding/Temporary Working Platform
  • Lifting Operations and Equipment used in Drilling Operations Guidance on CSCS Registration
  • Driving at Work

Guidance close to completion:

  • PPE
  • Manual Handling
  • Training and Competence
  • AGS Health and Safety Training Standards Health Surveillance


Currently all published guidance is freely available from the AGS website. The SWG has discussed this matter and believes that all of the safety guidance should be freely available in front of the member’s portal.

Where individual guidance links together we would like hyperlinks so that you can move between them. This should be part of the new website functionality specification. The web pages should have photographs and images and not just a list of links to guidance. The guidance will also be split into sections to try to make it easier to find what you want. Currently, we are waiting for the development of standard templates before we can provide further input to the new section within the new website.


The BDA has completed a new version of its Safety Manual and this is likely to be available digitally in the next month or so. Currently, they are deciding how and who it is distributed to but it is likely to be free to members. Unsure if it will be sold on the wider market.

There have also been ongoing discussions between the BDA and AGS regarding a closer working relationship. The AGS SWG has discussed on numerous occasions how much of an overlap there is and has offered to set up a joint working group. The BDA have reported back that they initially want to establish their own safety committee which has not met for over 12 months. They will then re-visit the idea of working with the AGS.

BDA have agreed to sponsor a session at Geotechnica which will be a Health and Safety session.

The BDA also spoke to the SWG about the BDA Audit. This scheme has been brought in to allow companies to assess the ongoing competence of the drill crews and to comply with BS 22475: Part 2. The auditee has to have already achieved the Land Drilling NVQ but this will look more closely in to how the driller is operating on site and complying with legislation, guidance and good practice. The BDA Training and Education Committee is currently working with Equipe to strengthen the Audit so that it requires the auditee to be able to prove a high standard of knowledge and application of both quality and safety. It is hoped that this will be linked in to the work to improve the current Land Drilling NVQs and in time to develop a Level 3 Advanced Lead Driller qualification.

Safety awareness and CSCS

The CSCS have been advised by the construction industry that there are too many loopholes in the CSCS card scheme. The CSCS card should represent the work activity being performed on site by that individual. The current clamp down has seen the requirement to attend a one day approved Health, Safety and Environmental awareness course if a GREEN labourer’s card is required. This is in addition to the CSCS touch screen test. Whilst this sounds initially like a good initiative to reduce the number of generic cards and promote training there are concerns. The concerns are that

  • it may lead to similar generic cards such as the WHITE Construction Related Operatives (CRO) card requiring something similar or being withdrawn
  • the promotion of generic Health and Safety training.
    The CRO card is commonly used across the geotechnical industry under the title Ground Specialist.New Standards BS EN 16228 – Drilling and foundation equipment.The new standard is seen to be the European wide requirements for rig guarding but they are actually a lot more detailed and cover all safety aspects of operating drilling equipment across sectors and rig types. Most organisations have still not looked to see if changes to UK practice or obligations on rig users or manufacturers has changed. AGS has told BDA that as the trade body for drilling they should be advising industry on these matters. One AGS member believes that it downgrades the importance of guarding in reference to trapping distances. There will undoubtedly be other areas which need to be considered. The BS was live from the end of October 2014.

    Construction Design and Management Regulations, 2015

    The changes to the CDM regulations was discussed, majority of the group felt more responsibility had been passed onto the client and they would now have to consider risk as well as the cost of the project. Julian Lovell noted the HSE encourages industry interpretation, and thought it was important guidance was produced to reflect the industry. The group agreed and recognised the re-education of clients would be the hardest transition. It was agreed joint industry guidance with the BDA and the Federation of Piling Specialists (FPS) would be ideal. Julian, Madeleine Bardsley, Adam Latimer and Jon Rayner agreed to contribute to the joint industry guidance on behalf of the AGS. Ann-Marie Casserly raised the proposal at the FPS Safety & Training meeting and Julian contacted BDA. Currently all parties agree that it would be a good initiative but neither FPS nor BDA could provide time or resources at the moment.

    Equipe are currently arranging a FREE one day seminar/discussion forum for Health and Safety in the geotechnical industry on 4th March at their training rooms near Banbury. The day is aimed to open up debate on HS&E matters including:

  • How the industry should adopt and interpret the requirements of CDM 2015
    • Can we educate the client?
    • Can CDMCs become Principal Designers?
    • Can the industry cope with the increased demand to act as Principal Contractor?
  • Will it increase resources and costs to complete CDM jobs?
  • Why companies might consider Health Surveillance

Safety Alerts

The Safety Working Group would like to receive copies of safety alerts relevant to member’s activities so that lessons can be learnt. The most valuable messages often come from Near Misses and it is hoped that we can start a regular item in the newsletter but we have to have items sent from the membership.

Article Business Practice Data Management

BDA audited drilling operatives

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Tags: BDA Drilling

The following is general wording suggested by BDA for all drilling operations:-

Audited Land Drilling Operatives

  1. All drilling operatives (Lead Drillers and Drillers) employed on the Contract shall hold a valid and current Audit card of competence applicable to the work and specific drilling operation on which they are engaged, as issued by the British Drilling Association Limited under its BDA Audit or an equivalent body in a State of the European Union.
  2. All drilling operatives (Lead Drillers and Drillers) employed on the contract shall hold a valid and current CSCS blue skilled (Land Drilling) card as issued by Construction Skills Certification Scheme Limited or an equivalent body in a State of the European Union.


  • With regard to clause 1, this covers the NVQ requirement as operatives are only admitted to BDA Audit after having provided evidence that they are already NVQ qualified.
  • With regard to clause 1, the words “applicable to the work and specific drilling operation” can be further defined for specific contracts. The BDA Audit card endorsements for a Lead Driller in ground investigation are one or more of the following:
  • – Ground Investigation – Cable Percussion
  • – Ground Investigation – Rotary
  • – Ground Investigation – Dynamic Sampling
  • For Lead Drillers in other drilling disciplines the endorsements are: –
  • – Drilling and Grouting
  • – Drilling and Anchoring
  • – Marine – cable percussion
  • – Marine – rotary
  • – Water well – cable percussion
  • – Water well – rotary
  • – Landfill drilling – cable percussion
  • – Landfill drilling – rotary
  • – Geothermal drilling
  • Please note that a Driller (who supports the drilling operation and was previously termed secondman) does not have any drilling discipline endorsements on his/her card.  Neither the NVQ or BDA Audit processes, at this stage, assess or endorse them for specific works.
  • With regard to clause 2, the BDA Audit does in fact require proof of this for anyone applying for BDA Audit status and thereafter on each 12 month on site Audit. But it’s possible that an individual’s CSCS card may have expired between audits, so this is why we suggest this clause as well.
Article Safety

A Safe Pair of Hands

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Responsibility, Safety and Operative Competence in the Geotechnical Industry

Brian Stringer, British Drilling Association National Secretary

Did you know that everyone in the geotechnical industry, whether director, manager, engineer or drill crew needs to have a recognised safety card after December this year? If they haven’t got one, the Major Contractors Group (MCG), comprising some 24 of the UK’s leading construction companies, will not let them visit or work on their sites. That’s the message from the MCG, and there’s a stampede at present to register for one of the few recognised cards, that of the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS). Up to April 2004, the CSCS card for professionals is available under ‘grandfather rights’ after passing a touch screen health & safety test (held at driving test centres), but after that time it will be necessary to have a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) at Level 4.

It’s a stark message that the MCG is putting out. Tolerance will no longer be exercised towards individuals and companies who cannot provide independent proof of their safety competence. The MCG is not alone, for their policy is supported either directly or indirectly by legislation, Health & Safety Executive (HSE), Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), unions and trade associations. Included in the latter is the British Drilling Association (BDA) who recognised the national trends some years ago and now has a target date for 1st January 2005 for a fully qualified drilling workforce. On this date a new Minimum Competence Standard will replace the Association’s current Driller Accreditation Scheme and will apply to all drilling operatives irrespective of drilling application. This Standard will require possession of a CSCS drilling card, NVQ Land Drilling qualification at level 2 and regular on-site auditing by the BDA.

The BDA is mirroring, anticipating and extending what it believes are rapidly becoming the requirements in the construction industry. The national background is the drive towards proof of a workforce’s safety and skill. A BDA presentation entitled “A Safe Pair of Hands” sets out in detail the background, trends and proposed action to provide that proof. The BDA is taking this presentation on the road over the forthcoming months into the offices of clients, agencies, designers and consulting engineers to both inform and seek co-operation within the geotechnical community of which it is part.

“A Safe Pair of Hands” does not confine itself to talking about those at the sharp end, but includes all those involved in geotechnical work co-operating together to provide safe, compliant and quality work. All have to be aware of and subject to the law particularly on health & safety matters. The HSE, in enforcing the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974, Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 1994 (CDM) and Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999, is now placing more emphasis on the Clients’ and designers’ responsibilities and looking for a full audit trail. In particular, CDM regulations require firms to maintain and employ skilled workforces that are aware of health and safety requirements. Responsibility to be safe starts at the top, as is witnessed by the increasing pressure on directors to appoint and oversee safety measures and systems.

There are two elements arising from this, namely skill on the one hand and health & safety on the other that now have to be proven prior to employment on site. And that proof is no longer the product of self-certification, or mere attendance at training courses. The proof has to be provided by independent assessment and testing, and be of ‘recent’ origin not years out of date. Within construction trades there has existed a multitude of registration, qualification and training schemes for skill and safety, some of doubtful and dubious nature. The widescale availability of NVQs, created by the government, and their development for the specialist trades has provided a common base for specification and understanding. The BDA, together with the CITB, has created an NVQ Land Drilling which, through its differing assessment routes, provides a qualification for all members of a drill crew and the majority of drilling applications.

The NVQ Land Drilling assessment process is a lengthier and more involved process than the BDA’s current Accreditation Scheme that will cease at the end of 2004. The NVQ also has the benefit of being partially government funded, and more nationally recognisable across trades and by clients.

The first part of the BDA’s new Minimum Competence Standard, that of being a CSCS Land Drilling cardholder is inexorably linked to the NVQ requirement. To obtain the CSCS card a drilling operative has to register to take an NVQ and obtain it within 3 years. The person must also successfully complete a touchscreen health & safety test. Therefore the possession of CSCS and NVQ combines safety with skill and the necessary proof as required by the law. But one further step has also been introduced by the BDA, a feature of its current Driller Accreditation Scheme.

Qualification such as a GCSE, degree or NVQ, is for life and provides decreasing proof of a person’s current knowledge and skill as time goes by. The accent today is that of continuous professional development (CPD) and quality assurance. The first calls for ongoing dusting off and lifting of skills while the second addresses current conformance to standards. A central principle has always existed in the BDA’s Accreditation Scheme, since its inception in 1991, that drillers should be regularly inspected via an on-site audit. The auditing process, carried out by the BDA’s own assessors (auditors), includes looking at the person, rig & equipment and is to continue within the new minimum competence standard making up the third part of the standard. The process is being strengthened and will run on quality assurance lines to ensure that non-conformances are closed out.

As from 1st January 2005 all drilling operatives should conform to the new Minimum Competence Standard of CSCS / NVQ2 / BDA Audited. This standard combines the 3 essential elements of a nationally recognised safety card (CSCS); national skill qualification (NVQ), and is industry verified & audited regularly (BDA). It will be the proof required by clients and their agents that the workforce is skilled and safety aware. The industry cannot achieve acceptance of this standard without the co-operation of those who specify drilling works and monitor the credentials of the labour employed. With this in mind, the BDA is proactively engaged, through the “Safe Pair of Hands” presentation, in spreading the message and seeking co-operation. The BDA invites contact from all interested parties either to comment or obtain further information.

British Drilling Association Wayside London End Upper Boddington Daventry Northamptonshire NN11 6DP

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