The issue of rig guarding has been ongoing since 1998 and in August 2014 BS EN 16228 Drilling and Foundation Equipment -Safety, was published (BS EN 791 Drilling rigs and BS EN 996 Piling rigs have now been withdrawn)(see Standards) to reflect this.
In January 2105 the HSE published revised guidance on the 'Prevention of entanglement on rotating parts of drilling & piling rigs' on their website http://www.hse.gov.uk/foi/internalops/og/og-00055.htm
The new publication is a full revision and is aligned with the new BS EN 16228. The HSE do not expect that this will cause difficulty for members in relation to drill string guarding in GB as we have a head start on other EU countries. Hopefully procurement of new rigs or hire rigs from EU suppliers will also be easier. Existing guards that exceed the height/reach dimensions given in the new Standard should stay in place unless safety will be improved by making alterations and control systems to allow Restricted Operating Mode should not be altered to take advantage of any flexibility contained within the new Standard.
The previous guidance was drawn up following an approach from The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) to the BDA in 1999. The BDA published guidance in 2000 (see Publications) and a letter from HSE in 2007 fully clarified the HSE's position - HSE letter.
Following this letter the HSE has been proactive in serving prohibition or improvement notices on vertical drilling rigs that don't conform. It went further in October 2009 holding clients of drilling services accountable if rigs are unguarded - HSE letter Oct 2009.
Regarding rigs that perform inclined drilling, a BDA working party sitting with HSE issued a joint statement in May 2010 - BDA / HSE Joint Statement.
It is fundamentally clear that drill rigs in the UK, at whatever angle of drilling, have to have interlocked guards (or protective devices that prevent access to rotating parts). With regard to manufacturers / suppliers, HSE fully expects that rigs sold on UK market also conform to this.