The National Drilling Association (NDA) is ¿Charting A New Course¿ to focus its resources on training and safety initiatives for drillers in the geotechnical, environmental and exploration industries. Charting a New Course was the theme for the 2002 convention, held in Orlando, Fla. The convention saw increased attendance over the previous year, which is indicative of the new direction for the association. Prior to the convention, NDA held a four-day training program in Orlando on drill pumps, mud and grouting.

The four-day training program exceeded all expectations with 16 students in attendance. Training efforts continued during the convention with an innovative NIOSH training session for drillers on noise protection titled the Drill Rig Incident.

The NDA Training Committee is already making plans for two training sessions in 2003. In addition, NDA also will sponsor the 38th Shallow Exploration Drillers Clinic (SEDC), which will be held April 8-10 in Tulsa, Okla. For the fourth year in a row, NDA will help sponsor this event, which includes sponsors such as the Oklahoma Department of Transportation and the Oklahoma Geological Survey. NDA also will conduct one of the many training sessions held during this annual event.

To offer other learning alternatives, NDA is working with to place driller training programs and certification online. The first course is already online with material taken from the 48-page NDA Drilling Safety Guide. Nearly 4,000 of the guides have been sold since its release in 2001. Now drillers and others in the geological, environmental and exploration industries can access this information at their computer. Other certification courses are in the works for senior drillers, journeyman and monitor well drillers.

Other efforts by NDA in the area of safety include the production of a drilling safety video. The Diamond Core Drill Manufacturers Association Committee is working to develop a drilling safety video that is projected to be complete by the end of 2003.

The NDA training committee also plans to produce a handbook for geotechnical and environmental drilling. The handbook will feature basic geology, drilling methods, preventative maintenance, pumps and pumping circuits, augers, drilling fluids, core drilling, casing, air drilling, subsurface exploration methods, monitoring well installation, grouting/hole abandonment and safety.