As everyone is going green, military bases, more and more, are installing geothermal systems.

However, the requirements to install geothermal loops on military bases are quite different than normal drilling. First, every person must have a photo ID or valid driver’s license, and pass through a security gate or entrance. All vehicles are thoroughly inspected inside and out, and must have proof of current insurance. All equipment must be inspected, and have all safety equipment, such as fire extinguishers and first-aid kits, in working order; all removable equipment must be properly secured with approved chains, boomers and/or nylon straps. All hydraulic, air or water hoses must be free of leaks and cracks, and cables must not be frayed. Tailgates on vehicles must be installed and operable.

Before a company can start its work, all of its employees must attend a one-hour in-classroom safety class, and sign a form stating that they attended the class. Upon completion, the attendees receive a safety card that must be worn at all times while they are on the job site.

Some of the other requirements consist of the following:

All people on the work site – whether working or just visiting – are required to wear approved personal safety gear, such as the approved hard hats, safety glasses and steel-toed boots.

There must be a base-approved first-aid kit on-site; it’s OK to have an opened first-aid kit to use, but there must be a new, sealed first-aid kit on-site. This way, the inspector knows that there is a full first-aid kit available without inventorying each item. All fire extinguishers must be inspected and approved by the base inspectors. In the event you use a torch (with a flame), you must have a burn permit. This means that burn/torch equipment first must be inspected and approved by the base safety inspector.

The perimeters of the work site must be fenced with an orange security/safety fence. Any steel posts must be capped in such a way that no one can become impaled on them. Any open trenches must be clearly fenced and marked. Silt fences must be installed and approved anywhere mud, water and debris can exit the work site. Any open holes, in-ground pits, installed loops or drill debris must be secured by fences or clearly marked. No drill cuttings, drilling muds or drilling debris are allowed to enter any drains, sump ponds or catch basins.

Even though they may know very little about the drilling or what’s going on, from time to time, various inspectors may show up to just ask questions and watch for safety issues. These inspectors usually are courteous, and may or may not ask questions. It’s a good idea to have your own site supervisor available just to answer those inspector’s questions, should they arise.

I welcome the inspectors and enjoy answering their questions. It also makes the company appear more professional, plus it allows the workers to continue working.