The Driller hosted a wide-ranging talk about safety gear basics in our virtual booth at the Groundwater Week 2020 event Dec. 8-10. Host Jeremy Verdusco and cohost Brock Yordy invited back safety expert and The Driller columnist Dave Bowers.

The first part of our discussion focused on eye and hand protection. (Click here to catch up on that episode.) This second part covers ear protection, and how an emphasis on safety helps companies attract and retain the best drilling talent.

“It’s like anything: If we can lessen the impact, we can get greater exposure times,” Bowers says about hearing protection.

This comprehensive talk about drilling job hearing safety gets into:

  • Tinnitus, or ringing in your ears, and how it can affect mood and even equilibrium in extreme cases.
  • The 90-decibel threshold.
  • What good hearing protection looks like and how to make the case to drilling crews.
  • The different shapes ear plugs come in and their noise reduction ratings (NRR).
  • Bonding on drilling jobs and the safety programs it can require.
  • The differences sometimes seen between mom-and-pop drilling shops, and bigger-league drilling companies when it comes to safety gear.

Bowers, a safety expert and instructor with the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150 AFL-CIO Apprentice and Skill Improvement Program, and Yordy make a powerful case for using all the gear you can get your hands on. Check out today’s episode to hear more. Watch the video here or listen to the audio version of our conversation at You can also find our show on Apple Podcasts. Search for Drilling In-Site, then hit Subscribe.

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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 8 of Drilling In-Site. Find that earlier discussion about the pandemic’s effect on the industry here: