HSE management at drilling rigs involves many disciplines. These disciplines can be thought of as two pillars that together provide the foundation for effective HSE management at drilling rigs. That the drilling contractor must have an effective management system goes without saying. An effective management system is one that results in work processes designed to ensure the safety of every aspect of a drilling rig's operation. This is normally the responsibility of the drilling contractor and, to a certain extent, of the operator as well. The other pillar this paper is concerned with is the safety of the drilling rig itself – specifically, the safety of the individual machine in a drilling rig. An assembly of machinery consisting of many such machines also must be safe, and it must undergo the appropriate safety inspections. The definition of "safe" machinery is subject to a broad range of national and international legislation that must be considered. In this paper we shall describe which laws must be observed, which aids are used for safety analysis, and how the various laws and directives are implemented in practice by the mechanical engineer. European drilling rig manufacturers who manufacture both the rig and its components have an enormous responsibility.

  1. The construction of appropriately safe components that bear the CE conformity marking and, when necessary, have ATEX confirmation as well.

  2. The combination of individual safe machines into one functioning drilling rig system. This drilling rig must be able to demonstrate its functional safety.

This requires compliance with those European standards that have the appropriate worldwide validity and are recognized in the country of operation. One must also determine whether there are other laws in the country of operation that affect the construction of rigs and their components.

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