In episode 11, anchor Brock Yordy talks about recent trench-related fatalities in construction, then interviews Tom Howe of Western Michigan University’s Hydrogeology Field Course.

The program at WMU in southwest Michigan introduces students in geology and other fields to drilling through field instruction and demonstrations.

“If there’s one thing that they can take away from the courses they have with me is to learn to be critical thinkers and to use all that they’ve learned to be a force for good,” Howe says.

This episode covers:

  • Hand safety on drilling jobs
  • Using gloves specific to the drilling or construction task
  • Clean-energy efforts in Vermont
  • Connecticut plans to go carbon-free by 2040
  • Geothermal drilling’s role in clean-energy efforts
  • Legal action over a 2016 Little Missouri River oil spill in North Dakota
  • PFAS lawsuits over fire-fighting foam in Wisconsin
  • Recent trench fatalities in the U.S.
  • Trench protection systems and trench collapse
  • When is a construction jobsite decision negligence?

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Drilling expert Brock Yordy is a regular The Driller contributing writer. Send news tips and interview suggestions to