General Safety and Health » Equipment Condition


Well drilling and servicing are mobile operations. Equipment can be stored in yards for extended times or can be moved from site to site with minimal down time other than during transport. Consider and address the following items before putting equipment into service.

Utilizing the wrong equipment or parts can have catastrophic results. High operating pressures and severe service demands on equipment require that they are adequately designed, properly selected, properly installed, and properly maintained.

Possible Solutions

  • Consult design documents, manufacturer's manuals, and industry standards. Consult API documents before loading and transporting the equipment and parts.
  • Perform inspections before equipment is moved to ensure the equipment is as specified, and right for the job.
  • Perform inspections at the job site to ensure that the right equipment has been provided for the tasks to be performed. Equipment needs will change depending upon the tasks to be performed. Consult API documents and equipment manuals for proper inspection requirements and procedures.
  • Ensure that equipment is suitable for the proper pressure rating, and that pieces match up and mate together properly.
  • Contact your supervisor if there is a question.
  • Get the right equipment and parts before rigging them up.
  • When rigging up, ensure there are not mismatched parts. Use go/no-go rings when there is a potential for mismatched hammer unions. Don’t slug or force mismatched parts together. Leaks and failures can occur.
  • Perform pre-startup reviews and start up equipment in accordance with established policies and operating procedures.

Making changes or modifications to equipment can be risky. Do not make changes or modification to equipment without manufacturer, contractor, facility, and/or engineering approval. Ensure that a RA/HA/JSA is completed before equipment is used. Even minor changes to equipment can result in accelerated wear or failure.

Possible Solutions

  • Implement and follow an MOC process. Several API documents recommend use of an MOC before changes are made and implemented. See for example API RP 74 and RP 76.
  • Do not make changes to safety equipment (such as PPE and forklifts) without the approval of the original equipment manufacturer (OEM).
  • Inspect and test any modified equipment before use.
  • Do not use equipment that may be defective or damaged. Always conduct pre-use inspections to determine whether equipment is defective or damaged.

Outdoor use of equipment under severe operating conditions leads to accelerated corrosion and metal fatigue over time. Proper design and selection of equipment can reduce the effects of corrosion, reducing the potential for pitting, embrittlement, and metal fatigue, thus extending the life of the equipment and parts. See the H2S Metal Fatigue section for information specific to internal corrosion by H2S attack.

Possible Solutions

  • Routinely inspect equipment and parts to identify areas of corrosion and/or fatigue. API standards recommend inspections at prescribed intervals for specific equipment and materials. See for example, API 510 and 570.
  • Take equipment and parts out of service after extended use, or when corrosion, fatigue, or other damage mechanisms are observed.
  • Dry, rusty wire rope is especially susceptible to failure. Inspect and maintain wire rope in accordance with OSHA requirements, API standards, and manufacturer''s recommendations. Remove wire rope from service if there is overstressing or strand failure, or if other imminent hazards are observed or have occurred.
  • Increase inspection frequency when corrosive chemicals are used, or when inspections show damage or rapid degradation of equipment. Corrosion and metal fatigue can occur rapidly when materials are subjected to chemicals and processes for which they were not intended or designed. For example, see discussion of the effect of H2S attack on metal parts in the H2S section below.

Inspect equipment and parts before and after every job. Perform routine inspection and maintenance in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations. API documents discuss in detail the inspection, maintenance, and repair requirements at the rig site. See for example API 510, 570, RP 4G, RP 8B, and RP 9B.

Possible Solutions

  • Prepare and implement a mechanical integrity equipment program for inspection, maintenance, and repair.
  • Track and document inspection, maintenance, and repair history.
  • Perform inspections, maintenance, and repairs in accordance with manufacturer’s and API’s recommendations.
  • Ensure that repairs are done timely, by properly trained workers, and with the correct parts and procedures.
  • Ensure that equipment has suitable pressure and temperature ratings, and that pieces match.
  • Ensure material compatibility of replacement parts with existing equipment and chemicals.
  • Ensure that replacement parts follow the OEM recommendations for proper metallurgy, dimensions, and tolerances.
  • Inspect new parts to ensure that the specified equipment has been received.