Ensuring Compliance and Expertise in Land Drilling: A Guide for Contractor

April 4, 2024

In the dynamic and precise field of land drilling in the UK, the qualifications of your team are not just a formality—they are a crucial aspect of your operational integrity and the safety of your projects. The British Drilling Association (BDA) offers a timely reminder for all land drilling contractors regarding the importance of verifying the qualifications of Lead Drillers, particularly concerning their National/Scottish Vocational Qualifications (N/S VQs).

The Right Qualification for the Right Job

When enrolling a Lead Driller into an VQ program, or if you’re beginning to employ a Lead Driller who has obtained their VQ post-2006, it’s imperative to ensure they hold the correct VQ for the specific tasks you’re employing them to perform. This due diligence is essential not just for compliance with industry standards but for the efficacy and safety of your drilling operations.

For instance, if your project involves conducting a ground investigation using a cable percussion machine, the Lead Driller must possess an VQ in Land Drilling with a specific category for cable percussion, accompanied by a ground investigation endorsement. This specialisation ensures that the driller has the necessary knowledge and skills to perform the job safely and effectively.

Similarly, for projects requiring ground investigation, drilling for grouting, anchoring, waterwell, geothermal or landfill, it is necessary for the driller to have a VQ with the relevant endorsement in addition to the category that reflects the machine they are using. These specific endorsements and categories guarantee that your drillers are adequately qualified to conduct the specific type of drilling operation you are employing them to do.

A Reminder, Not a Revelation

It’s important to note that the requirement for specific VQ endorsements and categories based on the type of drilling work isn’t new. This system has been in place for nearly two decades, aiming to elevate the standards of professionalism and safety within the land drilling industry. However, amidst the hustle of daily operations and the influx of new technologies and regulations, it’s easy to overlook the critical step of verifying the qualifications of your drilling staff.

This reminder serves to underscore the importance of thorough certificate checks to ensure that your team is not only compliant with industry regulations but is also employing best practices for safe and efficient drilling operations.

Bridging the Gap

Should you find a gap in your or your team’s qualifications, such as a missing endorsement or category necessary for your operational needs, there is a straightforward path to rectification. Contact the BDA – office@britishdrillingassociation.co.uk – we have the resources and connections to organisations dedicated to providing training and qualifications in the drilling sector. Through their assistance, you can ensure that your drillers receive the necessary training to add the required endorsements or categories to their VQs, thereby aligning with the best standards of the industry.

The independent training organisations trusted to deliver the BDA Apprenticeship training modules and VQ assessments are listed on the BDA website:


In Conclusion

The integrity of your drilling operations hinges not only on the machinery and technology you employ but, most crucially, on the expertise and qualifications of the individuals operating them. As the land drilling industry continues to evolve, maintaining a keen eye on the qualifications of your workforce ensures not only compliance but also the excellence and safety of your projects. For the British Drilling Association, this is more than just a reminder—it’s a commitment to upholding the highest standards in the drilling industry.

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