MR FIX IT: Phoenix Drilling Service's John Harris came up with a solution to stop rods falling from drilling rigs, involving having the rod feed through a ring attached to a sliding rail  and extending the safety cage at the bottom that will contain the rod.
MR FIX IT: Phoenix Drilling Service's John Harris came up with a solution to stop rods falling from drilling rigs, involving having the rod feed through a ring attached to a sliding rail and extending the safety cage at the bottom that will contain the rod.

Moura solution for falling rods

TODD Gibney's heart leapt and his legs quickly followed as the steel rod came crashing down.

The driller's offsider looked at his two workmates who were both OK and started breathing again.

The rod had unscrewed from the top of the drilling rig and had fallen to the ground, luckily not hitting any of the three man crew.

That was several months ago, and Todd's employer, Phoenix Drilling Services, has seemingly found a solution to stop the rods from falling from the rigs.

Phoenix's Health and Safety manager Mike Woods said two of his workshop staff, John Harris and Allan Griffiths, came up with the idea of having the rod feed through a ring attached to a sliding rail and extending the cage at the bottom that will contain the rod should it became unscrewed and fall.

Phoenix has dubbed it the fall arrestor.

“Necessity is the mother of invention,” admitted Mr Woods.

“It will stop the rod falling to the ground or landing on our personnel.

“Our guys are safety conscious and they came up with the idea and then made it.

“You always hear about the bad safety aspects - the things that go wrong.

“No one looks at the good things like this,” Mr Woods told Central Telegraph.

Phoenix has been drilling at Dawson Mine and recently moved to Callide Mine.

The design is a world first safety innovation but is one of several being looked at by Anglo.

Anglo representatives visited Phoenix's Moura workshop recently to view a demonstration of the fall arrestor on a rig.

Anglo's regional geologist Max Ayliffe said after a number of safety incidents at Anglo mines, the company held a meeting with all its drilling contactors to look at safety ideas.

He said that Anglo had completed a risk assessment from the fall arrestor's plans and would review it following the demonstration.


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