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6 Of The Most Dangerous Oilfield Professions

Monday, March 11th, 2019
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There are some jobs that are more hazardous than others and working in the oilfield is one of them. This industry has a number of different types of positions. No matter what task is being done by an oilfield worker, there is one common thread among them; they can be dangerous. These are six of the most dangerous oilfield professions in the industry today.


Roughnecks, also known as roustabouts or floorhands, handle the tasks that are more labor-intensive like drilling and maintenance. These are often the most basic tasks, but they include removing hazards, moving equipment, and tackling other “grunt work.” These jobs are known for posing a greater risk of accident than others.


A motorman, also known as a motorhand, is involved with the engines and other machinery dealing with extracting oil. These engines can be electric, diesel, or both. Motormen will work with the roughnecks and direct them towards tasks as well as ensure that the equipment is safe to use. Working with engines and equipment holds its own unique risks.

Derrick operators

Derrick operators, also known as derrickhands or derrickmen, are involved with the highest section of the drill. This area of the equipment is the one that is lowered and raised up from the bore of the well. Derrick operators are often high above the ground on a platform that is above the rig. They will also help with the mud system, upkeep on the equipment, and complete other tasks. Derrick operators are at a great risk of falling if safety procedures are not maintained.


A driller, also known as a rig operator, is involved in the supervision of the entire crew during oil extraction. This position can entail troubleshooting issues that come up during the drilling process. They are in charge of the safety of the crew members and must train them on handling issues and emergencies. They also operate the drill controls and other equipment.

Oil rig manager

An oil rig manager, also known as a toolpusher, is the overall supervisor for the oil rig. They oversee all of the positions and are in a role of leadership. They cover many of the same tasks as drillers, but also manage the original rig installation as well as ensure that everyone complies with the EPA and other governmental regulations.

Truck drivers and transportation workers

Semi truck drivers and oilfield transportation workers are actually in more danger than many other employees in the industry. Safety standards are more regulated for workers doing their jobs in the oilfields. Truckers, on the other hand, are not subject to as many rules.

Many oil companies will work their drivers for too long, causing fatigue and other issues. Drivers in the commercial trucking industry are required to rest after every 14 hours on the road. They must stop working for at least 34 hours after working 60 hours as well. These measures help prevent accidents caused by driver fatigue, but oilfield truckers aren’t subject to them. This is because the hours worked in the oilfield do not count as driving hours. If the truck driver is not able to rest while waiting for others to complete their duties, this poses a danger on the oilfield and on the roads.

Other oilfield professions

There are various other oilfield professions that can be dangerous. These include pipeline walkers, pipelayers, and pipefitters. Petroleum engineers are other professionals that find themselves involved with the oil extraction process. Each of these careers can be dangerous for different reasons.

Examples of oilfield accidents

There are a number of hazardous events that can happen when a person works at an oilfield. There are oil well blowouts, slips and falls from elevated surfaces, and explosions to name a few. The following are other dangerous situations that oilfield workers face.

  • Fires
  • Transportation issues going to and from the site
  • Equipment malfunctions
  • Defective equipment
  • Getting caught up in gears or machines
  • Being exposed to harmful materials

Common on-the-job injuries can be as simple as a sprained ankle from slipping to life-altering and even fatal injuries. Eye wounds, broken bones, burns, brain trauma, back injuries, and spinal cord damage are all possible as well.

Seeking help after an oilfield injury

If you or a loved one have been injured in the oilfield and would like information about filing a claim or suit, speaking with an attorney is your best option. The office of Attorney Dean Boyd can help. Contact us by calling (806) 242-3333 or Send Us an email to learn about our Oilfield Accident services. You can also visit with us in person at 4423 SW 45th Ave in Amarillo, Texas or 10623 Quaker Ave #102 in Lubbock, Texas.

*The content on this website is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as legal advice. Viewing this information does not establish/constitute an attorney-client relationship with the law firm of Attorney Dean Boyd.