SOCOTEC UK's Ground Investigation
Team Wins BDA Award

Tue 25/01/2022 - 12:21

SOCOTEC’s Ground Investigation team has won the Industry Excellence Award at the British Drilling Association (BDA) Awards.

SOCOTEC was recognised for the award thanks to its ‘Drilling Wizard’ data storage and accessibility innovation. This is a web-based data storage facility containing pertinent information on plant that is easily accessible on sites by accessing QR codes.

SOCOTEC’s Ground Investigation business unit owns and operates a number of drill rigs, all of which must comply with both the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) and the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER). This compliance at its most basic is in the form of an annual thorough examination (LOLER) and ensuring the operator has access to the operator’s manual (PUWER). 

Previously, SOCOTEC would mobilise each drill rig with a ‘rig pack’, which comprised a weatherproof plastic envelope containing laminated copies of the relevant certificates and a hard copy of the manual. This had obvious disadvantages, such as knowing where to store the rig pack, as well as the potential for damage to be caused to the envelope and, therefore, its contents. There was also the possibility for the pack to be misplaced or even for drillers to neglect to update the contents as certificates were renewed.

The implementation of Drilling Wizard has removed any reliance on drillers requiring up-to-date paperwork in hard copy regarding the plant that they are operating. Instead, by scanning the QR code on the rig or associated plant, the user is directed to a web portal containing:

  • Current certification of thorough examination for the plant (including wire rope certificates for drill rig), ensuring compliance with LOLER and aiding both internal and external auditors
  • A data sheet containing weight, diminution and capability data for the item of plant, enabling quick access for temporary works designers
  • Plant specific exclusion zones schematics
  • Recent service history with workshop job sheets to satisfy clients of SOCOTEC’s ongoing preventative maintenance programme and to aid an investigator in the event of an incident
  • The operator’s manual (for operator reference and to demonstrate compliance with PUWER)
  • Original CE conformity to show the province of the rig.

“Being the recipient of the Industry Excellence Award from the BDA is immensely satisfying, as well as further cementing SOCOTEC’s status as an industry leader,” said Gareth Mews, resources manager, Infrastructure. “We believe the best innovations are simple yet effective, and Drilling Wizard is certainly both. Our QR code system has generated a huge amount of interest from our client and subcontractor base, and has even caused some of our competitors to get in touch to ask how it works. What’s more, the platform is constantly evolving to provide more useful information to site while reducing paperwork.”

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