Electric drill safety review: Electric drill gearboxes to be banned
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The safety of electric drill equipment is paramount, but the equipment is becoming increasingly common in recent years, according to a safety review of electric drills by the Irish Department of the Environment.
Electric drill safety is an issue that has become more relevant as the use of drills and other tools for drilling in the United States and other developed nations is growing, the review said.
The report from the department was published on Thursday and follows a similar review by the Department of Environment earlier this year.
“It’s important that the safety of drill equipment remains a priority in all aspects of the industry,” Environment Minister Frances Fitzgerald said.
“The Government’s long-term approach to safety will ensure we protect the safety and quality of our workforce, the environment and the communities that we serve.”
A recent US study found that drill equipment has become a key safety issue for many drillers.
“We need to be able to drill and we need to have drills,” said Brian Riggs, president of the North American Association of Drillers.
“The way we drill is changing.
And it is changing in ways that we can’t even begin to imagine.”
Mr Riggs said drillers in the US were using more complex and less reliable tools and the safety risks were becoming more obvious.
“We have to be prepared for the consequences,” he said.
Electric drills use a motor and electric motor shafts that spin at a rate of 1,000rpm.
The drill head is connected to a hydraulic press that is held in place by a battery and a compressor.
“I’m not going to say that electric drill drills are inherently unsafe,” said David McGovern, CEO of the Independent Drillers’ Association.
“But it is the same as a drill that uses a screwdriver.
They are just not the same thing.”
Mr McGovern said he was concerned about the “growing popularity of drillers using electric drill motors”.
“We don’t see any reason why this should change,” he added.
Mr Rigg said that while the current generation of electric and gas drill motors used in drilling in Ireland could operate at a lower speed than the ones used in the rest of the world, they still posed a risk.
“If they don’t have enough clearance, it’s going to get stuck,” he explained.
“When you’ve got a drill, you have a pressure sensor in the shaft and the pressure in the drill head.”
Electric drill motors have been banned in the UK since 2004, but some manufacturers have been able to circumvent the ban.
Electric drill equipment used in fracking is often sold at lower prices, which means that many drill-using drillers are able to use cheaper gear than the older equipment.
A study by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) last year found that the average cost of an electric drill motor was $8,200 in 2016, compared with $22,000 for gas.
“The electric drill industry is still very small and we don’t yet have the data to determine the effect of this,” Mr Riggs explained.
Mr McGuire said the department has made a series of changes to the equipment safety guidelines and safety policies in recent months.
“Since we have made a number of changes, it is in line with what we expect to see from the industry in the future,” he told The Irish Independent.
The department also has tightened rules on equipment and equipment use for certain drill types, such as horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, as well as added requirements for safety equipment to be approved by the environment minister and approved by industry.
The safety review will be published in the Irish Examiner in the coming weeks.
The safety of electric drill equipment is paramount, but the equipment is becoming increasingly common in recent years, according to…