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Site Preparations – Maintenance Activities 

Proper maintenance prevents premature equipment failure, which may cause injuries or fatalities. Drilling equipment is subjected to stress and vibration during operations. Because of this, maintenance is a necessary and ongoing activity on the drilling site.

Process: Rig Floor Maintenance

Maintenance activities on the rig floor include inspecting, adjusting and servicing equipment such as draw works, rotary, catheads, tongs, air hoists and wire rope.


  • Slips, trips and falls
  • Being caught in chains or other moving equipment
  • Getting fingers and hands pinched in machine guards or covers
  • Receiving sprains and strains


  • Wear personal protective equipment (PPE) such as hard hats, work gloves, safety shoes and eye protection.
  • Be aware of the slipping and falling hazards when performing maintenance on the drilling floor.
  • Keep all work areas clean and clear of oil, tools and debris.
  • Use non-skid surfaces where appropriate.
  • Use proper lockout/tag out procedures.
  • Seek assistance when moving awkward and heavy guards and covers.
  • Keep all machinery free of leaks with regular preventive maintenance and by repairing when necessary.

Process: Drilling Line Maintenance

The drilling line is the steel wire rope reeved through the crown block and traveling block. It must be inspected, slipped and cut regularly.


  • Receiving injuries to face and eyes from flying metal chips while slipping and cutting the line
  • Getting caught in moving equipment
  • Slips, trips and falls
  • Being struck by drilling line


  • Use proper lockout/tag out procedures.
  • Wear proper PPE when cutting line.
  • Attach a red flag or other warning device to the draw works clutch lever as a reminder to the driller that the crown safety device is moved or deactivated to allow the traveling block to be raised above the preset stopping point.
  • Secure ends of the drilling line prior to cutting.

Process: Wire Rope Maintenance

Visually inspect wire ropes daily or per maintenance schedule.


  • Receiving cuts from the wickers or loose strands on the rope
  • Receiving injuries to the face and eyes from flying chips while cutting wire rope


  • Wear proper PPE when cutting wire rope.
  • Seize wire before cutting.

Process: Mud Circulating System Maintenance

Maintenance activities include inspecting, adjusting and servicing on equipment such as mud pumps, hoses, hose connections, pop-off valve, shale shakers, belts and guards.


  • Being caught between or struck by equipment
  • Slips, trips and falls
  • Getting a foreign body or fluid in the eye
  • Burned by fluid contact
  • Drowning in the mud tank or pit
  • Receiving strains and sprains


  • Use proper lockout/tag out procedures.
  • Wear PPE.
  • Be aware of the slipping and falling hazards when working on the mud circulating system.
  • Provide guardrails and guards around mud tanks.

Process: Generator, Electric Motors and Electrical Systems Maintenance

Electrical connections and power cords need to be checked for wear or deterioration and replaced if needed. Electric motors need to be serviced at recommended intervals. All guards should be present and correctly installed and the electrical connections on motors need to be kept sealed.


  • Receiving flash burns or shocks while servicing motors, generators and breaker panels
  • Getting caught in moving equipment


  • Do not wash generators, electric motors and breaker panels with a water hose.
  • Use proper lockout/tag out procedures.
  • Wear appropriate PPE.
  • Avoid wearing jewelry.
  • Do not stand directly in front of breakers when operating.
  • Use a dielectric mat in front of the control panel or breaker panel.
  • Use appropriate shields or guards to cover all exposed revolving parts such as belts, flexible drives, generators and shafts to prevent contact and injury.

Process: Engine Maintenance

Engines require servicing at recommended levels.


  • Getting burned by hot fluids or engine parts
  • Getting caught in moving equipment or moving parts


  • Wear appropriate PPE.
  • Let engine cool down before working on it.
  • Use proper lockout/tag out procedures.
  • Cover all exposed revolving parts with appropriate shields and guards.

Process: Derrick Equipment Maintenance

Maintenance activities in the derrick consist of lubricating the swivel, traveling block and crown block, and replacing the swivel packing.


  • Getting caught between equipment and objects
  • Falling from heights
  • Being struck by falling tools or equipment


  • Use proper lockout/tag out procedures.
  • Use appropriate fall protection.
  • Wear appropriate PPE.
  • Minimize the number of employees working on the rig floor.
  • Tie off tools.

This article is for general informational purposes only. © 2012, 2015, 2017 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.

Source: OSHA

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