Life as a Motorhand in West Texas

Trinidad Drilling rig in Texas

A couple of weeks ago on our blog, an Alberta Motorhand talked about the challenges of running rigs in Canada’s bitterly cold winters. Almost 2,000 miles south in West Texas, where Lane Callender works motors on Rig 222, the job is similar but it’s the summer that can bring challenges.

With Lane as our guide, this week we’ll give you the southern perspective on life as a Motorhand.

An average day at work for a Texas Motorhand:

Lane’s responsibilities are similar to a Motorhand anywhere.

  • Operate and maintain the rig’s diesel and electric engines as well as other mechanical equipment
  • Order tools and replacement parts for engines and test the machinery for operability and safety
  • Clean and maintain engines
  • Train, supervise and assist other crew members
  • Operate and maintain the rig’s boiler systems

When Lane first gets to work, he attends safety meetings and then walks around the rig to make sure everything is operating correctly. Next, he goes to the rig floor to relieve the Motorhand from the previous shift, who updates Lane on what’s happened while he was off.

During his shift, Lane is always keeping an eye on the rig’s motors. His average day also involves safety paperwork, rig maintenance, offloading materials from trucks that come in, looking out for the safety of other crew members and helping wherever he is needed.

“If we’re running casing, I usually operate the catwalk,” Lane explained in a Louisiana accent (he drives to Texas to work and then spends his time off at home in the ‘Pelican State’).

“If we’re tripping, I usually go out and help on the floor. I usually run the iron roughneck,” said Lane.

How do you take the heat? You work safely

Lane explained that the “dry heat” they experience in the summer in West Texas means crews have to take extra precautions to stay safe. Rig hands break every hour to go inside and cool off. They also record what they’ve eaten and drunk on a “Heat Sheet,” which helps both the worker and the supervisor identify signs of dehydration.

“The main thing is to make sure you stay hydrated with water,” Lane explained. “You can’t drink any Cokes (soda) or anything like that in the summertime. You mainly drink water and a little bit of Gatorade.”

Learn more about rig safety in the heat.

Safety is in everyone’s job description

Lane, who has worked in the drilling business for 10 years, explained that safety is everybody’s responsibility. That’s why the father of five looks out for his fellow crew members.

“It’s a team effort, for sure,” said Lane, who enjoys hunting and fishing with his kids on his weeks off.

“I have never really seen a bad accident or nothing, and I don’t want to see one,” he stated resolutely.

Working with Trinidad Drilling

Trinidad operates rigs in Canada, Mexico, Saudi Arabia and the U.S., but no matter where in the world we’re drilling, we’re committed to keeping our team safe. Our rigs are some of the most advanced in North America and have well-trained crews running them. Learn more about what it’s like to work for Trinidad.

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