BDA Audit Success Stories

October 11, 2022

The British Drilling Association (BDA) Audit has been dramatically improved over the last 2 years and has been embraced by BDA members large and small. Examples of its success are presented here.

BAM Ritchies is one of the UK’s largest drilling contractors, with a focus on infrastructure projects. This month it celebrated the remarkable achievement of over 50 No. Audited Lead and Assistant Drillers, with over 90% of the 28 No. Lead Drillers employed within audit. The BDA asked David Bradley, Contracts Manager, BAM Ritchies, how it had managed this.

David explained that the BDA Audit is regarded as essential for drilling operatives and it is embedded at all levels of the operation, that it is beneficial for the audited personnel and helps BAM Ritchies to meet specifications and ensure technical compliance, whilst providing independent checks on the safety of its drillers and drilling equipment. David says: “It’s a virtuous circle for us: our drillers want to be audited to demonstrate their skills and relish the time with the auditor to prove their skill and knowledge. The rest of the team, such as the plant fitters, site engineers and supervisors, all have their part to play in ensuring that the BDA Audit visits are successful; everyone understands the importance of the BDA Audit from the point of view of ensuring health and safety and confirming competence.”

Is it difficult to arrange over 30 site audit visits each year? Not at all, says David, adding “Once we set a date and time, we try to stick to it. Much of the BDA Audit can be completed before arriving on site, so that the auditor can really concentrate on the observation element without interrupting the drilling process and the site team understand the importance of getting it done so ensure that the auditor has good access”.

Dewatering and well drilling contractor WJ UK was the first BDA member to undertake the new Water Well BDA Audit earlier this year and has since achieved 5 No. Lead Driller Audits, representing 100% of its Lead Drillers. Drilling Manager Stuart Ward says, “Many of our customers, such as the Tier 1 contractors, require evidence of experience, additional training, and task specific qualifications. The BDA Audit is an excellent addition to the training portfolio of our staff, and we are increasingly seeing the requirement for audited drillers in project specifications. It made perfect sense, therefore, to incorporate the BDA Audit into our training matrix.” Stuart also says that other benefits of undertaking the BDA Audit have led to better record keeping and improved planned rig maintenance, leading to a reduction in lost time downtime.

Tony Quinn, of Tony Quinn Drilling, based in Newcastle upon Tyne, has been a driller for over 40 years and has successfully achieved the BDA Audit consistently for over 15 years. Like many smaller BDA Members operating 1 or 2 drilling rigs, Tony relies on sub-contracting to larger members for his workflow. Tony has an excellent reputation for quality and reliability and his BDA Audit endorses his reputation. One of Tony’s understandable frustrations, is when he finds himself working alongside a driller, employed by the company who has sub-contracted him, without an audit. The BDA recognise this frustration and is targeting the larger businesses who use sub-contractors to audit their own workforce. Despite these irritations, for Tony, the BDA Audit is a painless process and a valuable means of validating Tony’s vast experience and commitment to high quality drilling.

The BDA rules of membership for contracting members require a minimum 60% of Lead Drillers employed to be within BDA Audit and are currently targeting members who are below the 60% threshold to engage with the BDA Audit, to ensure they retain their membership into 2023/24.

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