Navigating the BDA Audit: Top 5 Insider Tips for Drillers

January 31, 2024

Auditing might evoke images of a daunting, high-pressure assessment, akin to a rigorous annual driving test. However, with the British Drilling Association’s (BDA) annual drilling audit, this process can be demystified. Here to guide you through are the top five tips to ensure your audit is smooth sailing.

  1. Understanding Reports of Thorough Examinations (RTEs)

Let’s talk about RTEs, often the unsung heroes of drilling audits. You might know them as LOLER certificates or lifting reports, but whatever you call them, their significance cannot be overstated. As a driller, it’s paramount to ensure your machine is safe before use. This means getting familiar with the RTEs which must comply with Schedule 1 of LOLER. We advise every time you look at RTEs applicable to your machine and equipment, you check for the following:

  • The RTE must be current and list all unique IDs of the equipment, including all winches on the machine, all ropes and all accessories (shackles, hooks, lifting eyes, etc)
  • Details of the equipment’s strength are clear and obvious, including the SWL and Factor of Safety for ropes and the max line pull or rated capacity for all winches
  • The RTE clearly states that each component is stronger than the winch itself (except in certain scenarios such as SPT hammer sleeves, bailing hooks and wireline overshots)

We have detailed guidance on RTEs on our website, so you don’t have to navigate this alone

  1. The Importance of Guarding

Guarding is more than just a safety protocol; it’s about ensuring a secure environment around all potentially hazardous parts of your machinery. This includes:

  • Protecting exhausts and manifolds with guards or heat wraps
  • Securing winches to prevent hand entanglements
  • Fully enclosing hydraulic hammers for probing or SPTs
  • Implementing guards on the capstan of CP machines
  • Ensuring drill strings are fully enclosed and unreachable, even for the tallest of operatives

You can find the BDA’s comprehensive guidance on guarding here –

  1. Perfecting the Driller’s Daily Report

Your daily report is your drilling diary. It might seem like just paperwork, but it’s a critical record of your operations. The BDA offers a guide on what auditors expect in these reports. While we don’t prescribe a one-size-fits-all template, our guide helps ensure you’re recording the right details, whether it’s adding water or a new string of casing.

Accuracy is key here. If you’re not recording your drilling accurately, it begs the question – why drill at all?

  1. Mastering Sample Labels

Sample labelling might seem straightforward, but it’s an area where precision is paramount. Ensure your labels include:

  • Project and Location (or Borehole) IDs
  • The date, Sample ID, type, and depth

Simple, right? Yet, these small details make a big difference. Our website has all the guidelines you need

  1. The Curious Case of SPT Rod Straightness

Last but not least, SPT rod straightness – it sounds odd but plays a critical role. According to Standard 22476 part 3, not only do you need to check your rods for straightness, but you also need to document this check. This is crucial for the reliability of your SPT values.

Remember, documentation is key. Include this in your Daily Report or on your pre-start inspection sheet.

In summary

These five tips are your roadmap to a successful BDA audit. They may seem like small steps, but collectively, they make a massive difference in the auditing process. If you have any questions or need further clarification, the BDA website is your go-to resource. Remember, preparedness is the key to turning what seems like a daunting task into a smooth, straightforward process.

To find out more about the BDA Audit, visit:

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