Safety while Repairing and Replacing Drive Chains and Greasing the Rig

Safety while Repairing and Replacing Drive Chains and Greasing the Rig

Drive Chain Repair: 

Drive chains are used in the drawworks, compound, as drives between the compound and mud pumps, or on electric rigs between the electric motors and the equipment.  Chains are heavy and must be handled with care.  A pre-job safety meeting should be held with all involved prior to beginning the task.

Make sure other workers on the site know that personnel are working on the chains.  Because chains are made of hard steel, there is a danger of flying steel chips when the chain is struck with a hammer.  Some hazards that workers are exposed to while working on or changing out a drive chain include being struck by flying chips of steel; pinching fingers in chain links; getting cuts from chain links that have rough edges; being struck by a hammer; back or other strains from attempting to lift the chain; being struck by the guard as it is removed or installed; being struck by the chain as it is removed or installed.

  1. Disengage and lockout all clutches. On electric rigs lockout and tagout the controls in the SCR House.
  2. Never try to-remove or replace chains while any part of the equipment is in motion.
  3. Be careful while lifting the guard off the equipment with the rig floor hoist.
  4. Attach the chain stretcher tool and tighten it to take slack off of the links you plan to separate. When breaking a chain, it is advisable to warp loops of soft line through a number of the links and secure the end of the line.
  5. Wear goggles while using a hammer and punch to drive out the connector link. Never use a hatchet.
  6. Once the chain links are separated, loosen the chain stretcher tool and remove it from the chain. Then slowly give slack to the soft line that is holding the chain.
  7. Use an air hoist or some type of hoisting device to remove chain from the equipment.
  8. Be sure the chain clamp is properly installed.
  9. Check the chain regularly for lubrication and make frequent checks on all keys.
  10. Keep fingers from between chain and sprockets.
  11. All employees should be clear of chain and moving parts before engaging the clutch or restoring power.
  12. Watch for fellow workers as well as yourself.
  13. Replace guards when the job is done and before putting the equipment back into service.

How to Grease The Rig Safely

  1. The grease gun should be clean and in good working condition.
  2. The driller should hoist the pipe off the bottom and spot grease fittings.
  3. Men greasing the rig should not wear ragged or torn clothing around moving parts.
  4. The swivel should be greased when the kelly is down. A ladder or boatswain’s chair with a full body harness should be used.
  5. While greasing the crown and traveling block, the grease gun should be clean and equipped with a sling made of sash cord. Do not leave either full or empty grease cartridges lying on the crown walk around.
  6. Valves should never be greased with pressure on the line. Some high pressure valves have special fittings with caps. Be sure to replace the cap on the fitting after lubricating the valve.
  7. Sometimes a fitting needs to be replaced on a high-pressure valve or piece of pressure equipment. Special care must be taken to ensure that all the pressure has been bled from the valve.  At times pressure can be trapped between the valve flap and the stem.  Be aware of this possibility and take safety precautions as needed to protect yourself.
  8. Tongs should be kept well greased so that they can be latched and unlatched properly.
  9. Elevator latch and hinge should be well greased.
  10. Stand clear of moving parts when greasing mud pumps.
  11. The shale shaker should be stopped for greasing.
  12. To prevent slipping hazards, excess grease should be removed from grease fittings with a clean rag and any grease that gets on the deck or rig floor should be cleaned up immediately.