The BDA Audit in 2021

January 15, 2021

It has been some time since the British Drilling Association’s (BDA) seminar, which introduced the new BDA Audit management structure, so it is now timely to update members on the progress that has been made since the management structure was created.

There are many major improvements planned for 2021 regarding the BDA Audit. The first and probably most important is that in early 2021 the audit scheme itself is set to become accredited byMineral Products Qualifications Council MPQC. This will ensure the audit scheme is run and administered in line with ISO 19011. The management team has been working towards this during the past six months, ensuring that robust, transparent systems are in place to enable the BDA to invite the awarding body to inspect these systems to achieve accredited status under their approval. It is hoped this accreditation will be completed in Q1 of this year.

Coupled with this third-party accredited status, the auditees will have the opportunity to hold a CSCS logoed BDA Audit card upon satisfactory completion of the audit. The BDA is able to offer this as the auditors will be licenced to undertake a drilling related CSCS touch screen test. This test can be completed on site at the time of audit and removes the need for a separate CSCS card and test. The cost of this will be covered by the audit fee and we will still utilise the current digital card system used by the audit, which proved to be very popular.

The BDA will continue to offer audits free of charge for Support Operatives that are audited alongside a Lead Driller who is also undertaking a BDA Audit, with a few prerequisites. However, moving forward these prerequisites will become more robust in their approach; these are outlined below:

  1. The Support Operative is required to hold a relevant VQ qualification, or be registered and working towards this qualification, (a copy of the certificate of registration will be required)
  2. The Support Operative has successfully passed a CSCS touch screen test (this could be the drilling related one carried out on site at the time of audit)
  3. They are First Aid trained to a minimum of ‘1 Day Emergency First Aid’ type course
  4. That the Lead Driller they are audited alongside also completes their audit successfully

With the audit being carried out alongside the Lead Driller it has little effect on the duration of the audit. Individual audits for Support Operatives can of course still be carried out, however these remain chargeable at the normal audit rate.

Changes to the audit content

The BDA Audit template will change during Q1 of 2021, initially without the content of the audit itself changing. This is purely to allow for the template to produce a clearer report that is then presented to the auditee and company post-audit. The changes below, which are planned to be made later in the year following a consultation period, can then be added more easily to this updated template. This means that audit reports may look slightly different throughout the year as changes are introduced.

From the feedback acquired from audits carried out over the past 12 months, there are changes to the audit criteria, planned for July 1st 2021. These changes will focus more on the driller, as often the feedback suggests that the audit was directed too much on the Health and Safety aspects of the job. This focus was initially agreed due to on-site health and safety being the BDA’s immediate, critical focus which was to help raise standards across the industry. This meant less focus was permitted to the technical side of auditing. However, as the audit has and continues to raise the standards regarding health and safety, the BDA now feels it is time to broaden the audit’s criteria into these more technical areas. The aim of this will be to ensure not only the operation is safely carried out, but the data collected from any investigation is technically sound.

Changes designed by the Standards and Technical Committee of the BDA will be introduced during 2021, concentrating on the operational side of land drilling. These changes will look at the drilling, sampling, testing, reporting, (etc) being carried on site to assess whether they are being undertaken to the appropriate Standards and identify any shortcomings in these areas. These areas were previously always ‘checked’ in the audit, but the assessment of them will now be more in depth and shortfalls recorded with regards to fully adhering to technical Standards associated with the wok. The BDA Audit will also consider the driller’s skills, knowledge and understanding regarding the technical requirements of the project, something which is often overlooked but will now be recognised.

The audit scoring will be refined during this year so that each audit will carry an accurate score. This scoring system will be refined in order to monitor driller improvements year on year, and perhaps help drillers striving to raise their standards to effectively ‘beat’ their score from previous years. The BDA hopes that this scoring system can be a vehicle for encouraging growth and further raising of standards across the board, which may in turn lead to the score being reflected in the judgement of the BDA Lead Driller of the Year Award.

Finally, the audit report(s) can also be used as evidence for anyone advancing to their Level 3 Diploma in Advanced Land Drilling.

Of course, through all the changes, the BDA accepts the Audit should be dynamic and actively encourages feedback from members about the Audit and how it is administered.

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