The coronavirus pandemic has touched every part of the globe and every industry, including drilling. Many drillers have worked right through, though with increased safety and risk mitigation steps. But are people still paying attention to those safety protocols, or is complacency creeping in on the jobsite?

To explore that question, we invited back Dave Bowers. He’s an instructor with the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150 AFL-CIO Apprentice and Skill Improvement Program, and has taught hundreds of drillers how to safely perform their work. Bowers took part in a roundtable of experts we convened for episode 1 of Drilling In-Site, but a lot has changed in the months since that talk. As the pandemic drags on, we wanted to speak with him again about keeping yourself, your crews and their families safe.

“Things are not normal, and that puts people on edge,” he says.

That ongoing state of “not normal” has a lot of people chasing “normal,” and that creates situations where people let their guard down.

“It’s human nature,” Bowers says. “We get tired of something that seems oppressive.”

As a lot of areas in the United States reopened, that human nature seems to have gotten the best of us. Cases of Covid-19 spiked. Bowers cautions drillers — and everyone, really — to remain vigilant as states lift virus restrictions.

“The right way to go about this may not be, ‘Hey, we’re free!’,” he says. “But, ‘Hey, we have a little more leeway. We can do some things, but we’ve got to do them sensibly.’ If we can’t do them sensibly, then try to maintain that social distance. Wear a face covering.”

This episode talks about what we’ve learned since the early days of the pandemic, and best practices for balancing safety and drilling jobsite productivity. Watch the edited video here, or listen to the full-length conversation at

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Contact Dave Bowers at
The International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150 AFL-CIO Apprentice and Skill Improvement Program trains people for drilling and other construction trades. For more information, visit
Bowers appeared on episode 1 of Drilling In-Site. Find that earlier discussion about the pandemic’s effect on the industry here: