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Course 902 - Well Site Preparation and Drilling Safety

Safety guides and audits to make your job as a safety professional easier

Rigging Up Safety

drilling rig


Worker safety awareness is necessary for injury prevention during all phases of drilling operations. Procedures and processes will include safety meetings, Job Safety Analysis, and general and task-specific training. At the end of each card, resources are identified which provide more details for establishing safe work practices and procedures.

Rigging Up

Rigging up is placing and assembling the various parts of equipment that make up the rig, and preparing the rig for drilling.

There are many rig designs, and this course does not cover each type individually. This course focuses on the common hazards and solutions that many rig designs share.

During assembly of the rig, some equipment may be handled and set with cranes, rig up trucks, or forklifts, depending on the size of the rig. It should be noted that overhead hazards such as high voltage power lines may be present.

There may be two or more crews (teams) working together in the rigging up process. The rigging up process includes the following steps, some of which are done simultaneously.

Setting up the Substructure


Equipment is unloaded and positioned at or near the exact location that it will occupy during operations.

The substructure is assembled, pinned together, leveled, and made ready for other rig components on the floor.

Equipping the cellar begins but can be done throughout the rigging up process. This includes welding on a drilling nipple to the conductor pipe and attaching a flow line.

Potential Hazards:

  • being struck by the crane, load, truck, or forklift tipping
  • pinched fingers when assembling equipment
  • burns from cutting and welding on the drilling nipple
  • temporary eye irritation from welding light flash
  • falling from heights

Possible Solutions:

  • Instruct all workers in safety procedures and ensure that they are knowledgeable about job hazards. This can be done during pre-job safety meetings or JSA briefings.
  • Instruct workers to stand clear and keep hands and other body parts away from pinch points
  • Wear proper long sleeve clothing to protect from burns.
  • Wear proper welding eye/face protection.
  • Avoid looking directly at the flame or arc when welding.
  • Wear fall protection when working from heights. [29 CFR 1926 Subpart M]

Setting Up the Rig Floor and Mast or Derrick

raising dog house

Once the substructure is set in place, the process of setting up the rig floor begins. Begin by installing stairways and guardrails to allow access to the rig floor. Then, the drawworks is set in place and secured to the substructure. On mechanical rigs, the engines are set in place; the compound and associated equipment are connected to the drawworks. On electric rigs, the electric cables (lines) are strung to the drawworks.

The bottom of the mast is then raised to the rig floor and pinned in place. The crown section is then raised into place on the derrick stand. The "A-legs" are raised and pinned into place. The monkeyboard is pinned in place on the mast and all lines and cables are laid out to prevent tangling when the mast is raised. A thorough inspection of the mast should be made before raising the mast/derrick.

The mast is now ready to be raised. The engines are started, and the drilling line is spooled onto the drawworks drum. Once the mast has been raised and pinned, the remaining floor equipment can be set into place. If the rig has safety guylines, they must be attached to the anchors and properly tensioned prior to continuing the rigging up process. A derrick emergency escape device is installed on the mast.

Setting Up the Rig Floor and Mast or Derrick (Continued)

Potential Hazards:

  • falling or tripping during rigging up
  • falling from rig floor
  • being struck by swinging equipment
  • being struck by falling tools
  • being crushed or struck by equipment due to failure or overloading of hoisting equipment
  • getting entangled in lines during raising of the derrick or mast
  • failure to properly install derrick emergency escape device

Possible Solutions:

  • Install, inspect, and secure stairs and handrails.
  • Do not use guardrails for anchor points or for lifting or supporting loads.
  • Use fall protection when installing or removing guardrails.
  • Use a tag line to guide equipment, rather than positioning yourself under suspended loads.
  • Check the derrick for unsecured tools before raising it.
  • Allow only the operator raising the mast to be on the rig floor.
  • Uncoil all lines so that they are clear of all workers when the mast or derrick is raised.
  • Attach safety lines to all tools hanging from the rig.
  • Keep a safe distance from moving equipment.
  • Install derrick emergency escape device properly in accordance with manufacturer’s recommendations.


Rigging up a land drilling rig.


Before beginning this quiz, we highly recommend you review the module material. This quiz is designed to allow you to self-check your comprehension of the module content, but only focuses on key concepts and ideas.

Read each question carefully. Select the best answer, even if more than one answer seems possible. When done, click on the "Get Quiz Answers" button. If you do not answer all the questions, you will receive an error message.

Good luck!

1. Which of the following is the term used to describe placing and assembling the various parts of the rig, and preparing the rig for drilling?

2. All of the following are potential hazards when setting up the substructure on a new drill site, except _____.

3. All of the following are solutions to the potential hazards when setting up the substructure on a new drill site, except _____.

4. Hazards associated with raising the mast or derrick include all of the following, except _____.

5. Once the rig floor is set in place, the process of raising the _____ begins.

Have a great day!

Important! You will receive an "error" message unless all questions are answered.