Dangers of underground drilling

Drilling accidents can happen fast and injuries are often serious and can be fatal. To avoid accidents involving handheld augers jackleg drills operators should follow a number of simple practices, according to the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA).

Angie Tomlinson

Using handheld augers or drills and jackleg type drills places drillers close to areas where loose rock or coal may pose a hazard. But injuries can be prevented by following MSHA good safety practices:

Train miners in the safe use of augers and drills.

Wear personal protective equipment; eye protection, gloves, safety boots with metatarsal guards, hard hats, hearing protection.

Perform a complete pre-operational inspection of the auger or drill before use.

Survey the work area for hazards (loose material on ribs or back, unstable ground, etc).

Bar down loose rock or coal.

Properly lift and support the auger or drill.

Always maintain control of the auger or drill (be prepared for kickbacks and drill torque).