Entry Senior

Drilling and Service Rig Labourer

Photo courtesy of Shell Canada

About This Career

Drilling and Service Rig Labourers assist operators on drilling rigs and service rigs with duties that generally require less skill, such as cleaning equipment to ensure it is properly functioning. This occupation is considered entry-level. The type of equipment and time spent on site are the key differences between the two roles.

Work on a land-based drilling rig is seasonal with the vast majority of the work occurring during the fall and winter months. Offshore drilling, meanwhile, is carried out by drill ships or platform drill rigs known as “jackup rigs.” Both onshore and offshore drilling rigs operate 24-hours a day and can take several weeks to drill a single well. Onshore service rigs are mobile and Service Rig Labourers are responsible for getting the rig and supporting equipment from one well site to the next. An offshore service ship is a floating version of a service rig and crews stay aboard for as long as it takes to service the well.

The typical roles on a drilling rig include:

  • Floorhands assist in placing pipe into wells, collecting samples of drill debris for analysis, mixing mud and chemicals, and cleaning and maintaining equipment.
  • Leasehands typically perform general labour and maintenance tasks around the rig site including loading and unloading trucks, clearing debris from walkways, cleaning tools and putting items away.

The typical roles on a service rig include:

  • Floorhands assist with moving a rig and equipment from one site to another and can also help move tubing in and out of the wellbore. They also keep a rig, equipment and site tidy.

Education: High school graduation is not required for this occupation but preferred by some employers. Experience as a labourer, working around heavy machinery and mechanical aptitude are assets.

Employment: This occupation is found in both onshore and offshore environments and is typically employed in the oil and gas services sector of the oil and gas industry.

Example titles: Leasehand, Floorhand, Roughneck, Roustabout, Labourer

Work Activities
Applying Health and Safety Principles
Following all safety and rig procedures.
Assisting with blow out prevention (BOP) and other safety and emergency response procedures.
Attending safety meetings.
Handling and Moving Objects
Clearing ice from walkways.
Cleaning and storing tools.
Assisting with moving rigs on and off the lease.
Helping run and pull tubing in and out of the well.
Organizing materials to prepare for use.
Providing assistance to extraction workers, such as drillers and derrick operators.
Dismantling the extraction and boring equipment used for excavation.
Loading materials into well holes or into equipment using hand tools.
Manipulating sections of pipe or drill stem at the rig floor during drilling and during the removal and replacement of strings, drill stem or drill bit.
Performing General Physical Activities
Loading and unloading trucks.
Providing general assistance.
Service Orientation
Stress Tolerance
Public Safety and Security
Active Listening
Career Path
  • Drilling Rig: Motorhands (Rig Technician 1 ), Derrickhands (Rig Technician 2 ), Driller (Rig Technician 3), Rig Manager
  • Other well services operators
  • Service Rig: Derrickhand, Operator/Driller, Rig Manager
Related Careers
Available Jobs
  • Here are the two most recent postings:

Swamper - oil field services

Posted on Aug 07 2019

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Oil field labourer

Posted on Aug 07 2019

By shawcor

Fort st. john Dependant upon experience
View All Jobs (5)
Working Conditions
  • Steeringwheel
    Driving Required
  • Road
    Remote Locations
  • Industrial excavator
    Active Machinery
  • Arrow
    Shift Work
  • Load
    Heavy Lifting
  • Physical
    Physically Demanding
  • Heights
    Working from Heights
  • Variable weather
    Variable weather
  • Hazardous
    Hazardous Conditions
  • Overtime
    Some Overtime Required
Similar Jobs In Other Industries
Careers also exist in the following industries:
  • Construction of buildings
  • Forestry and logging
  • Heavy and civil engineering construction
  • Mining and quarrying
  • Utilities, including renewable energy
Job Details

Job Category

Field Workers


Oil and gas services



Qualifications + Experience


  • Grade 10


  • Standard and emergency first aid
  • H2S Alive


  • Drilling Rig Operators require a Class 5 driver’s licence and a clean driving record
  • A Class 5 or 3 driver's licence (with air brake endorsement) is an asset for Service Rig Operators

Additional Requirements:

  • Ability to pass a pre-employment physical assessment and drug test