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What is a Safety Clamp?

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  • Written By: Emma G.
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 05 November 2016
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    Conjecture Corporation
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In ground drilling, a safety clamp is a device used to keep parts of the drill apparatus from falling down the drill hole or wellbore if other safety measures fail. Safety clamps may attach to either the drill string or to other pipes. Most safety clamps are adjustable for use with multiple types and sizes of pipe. Like all safety equipment, a safety clamp should be properly maintained to ensure that it works properly when needed.

People drill for oil, precious metals, and other natural resources found underground. A drill is a complex piece of equipment that requires many safeguards to ensure the safety of both the workers and the materials they are trying to bring to the surface of the earth. Safety clamps are one of these safeguards.

A drill string consists of two parts: the bottom hole assembly and the drill pipe. The bottom hole assembly includes the drill bit, stabilizers, and other parts that help the bit to turn. The drill pipe attaches the bottom hole assembly to the above-ground assembly. A drill string can be very long and extremely heavy. Drill slips keep all of these pieces from falling into the hole.

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Drill slips are made up of three or more wedges of steel that are hinged together. Each wedge has teeth inside. When the slip is placed around the drill pipe, the teeth are embedded in the outer walls of the pipe. This keeps the pipe from falling into the hole while parts of the upper assembly are changed or removed.

Since the equipment is so heavy and expensive, a secondary safeguard is needed to keep the workers from losing their equipment. A safety clamp acts as a backup to the drill slips. It sits on top of the slips and holds the pipe in place should one or more of the slips fail.

A safety clamp is made up of several links. These links can be added or removed, like the links in a wristwatch, to make the clamp fit the pipe. The whole apparatus is secured around the pipe using a nut and bolt.

In order to guard against rusting, a safety clamp is stored in oil when not in use. The workers simply fill the clamps storage box with oil. When in use, the safety clamp is checked daily to ensure that all the links are connected correctly.

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