Q: Why is developing a Common Rig Certification scheme like eating an elephant?

A: You have to do it one step at a time.

The Rig Site Safety Working Group (RSSWG) has released a DROPS Management System Self Assessment Guideline.  The RSSWG hopes to use DROPS processes and tools as the basis for future expansion to broader rig certification activities.  As such, release of this Guideline is the first step toward developing a Common Rig Certification scheme.


Over the years within the industry it has been recognised that there has been a high number of incidents of dropped/falling objects within drilling derrick structures. The potential for this type of incident to severely injure personnel or cause material damage on the drillfloor and in the surrounding area is very high. In extreme cases fatal injuries to personnel have resulted.*

* Source: DROPS Guidelines

To address the risks posed by dropped objects at the rig site, the RSSWG has developed a DROPS Management System Self Assessment Guideline.  This Guideline encourages an integrated, systematic approach to managing the identified risks and hazards associated with dropped objects specific to a Company’s operations.

It can be utilised as a guidance document for all Companies requiring a consistent, systematic approach to identifying and managing the hazards and risks associated with dropped objects.  This document is designed to be easily integrated into existing system processes and provides a recommended approach to managing dropped objects for all Companies currently involved in the Queensland Natural Gas Exploration and Production Industry, and for those new to the Industry.

The Guideline:

  • outlines detailed criteria that should be met or exceeded by the Company. The Company is encouraged to utilise this Guideline to develop a Company-specific Drops Management System.
  • provides examples of documents and/or processes that may be developed and/or provided to meet each specific criteria. The suggested documents and processes outlined in the criteria are there to assist the Company.  They are not mandatory and evidence provided is not limited to documents listed.
  • contains a tool that is recommended for use in conducting DROPS Management System Self Assessments.

Once the Company has developed and implemented their Drops Management System, a competent person should conduct a self assessment of the system against using the tool contained in the Guideline.  This self assessment will check verification of compliance and implementation of the DROPS Management System.

David Whiley and Blair Hart (WildDesert) have been instrumental in working with their RSSWG colleagues to compile the Guideline.  David Whiley observes “It’s really encouraging to see what we can achieve when Operators and Contractors collaborate.  Now that we have this tool, we can begin using it.  These are the initial steps.  We can then also use the lessons we have learnt in building and using the tool to continue to talk with Operators about how we might further align rig certification tools and processes in our Industry”.


For more information about Safer Together click here.

Safer Together members can download the DROPS Management System Guideline here.

Contact: [email protected]