What it’s really like working as a Floorhand

Is being a floorhand hardSomeone recently typed “Is being a floorhand hard?” into the search bar on our blog.

Here to provide his take on what it’s like working as a Floorhand, we introduce you to five-year Trinidad veteran, James Hofer.

Okay, so James has already worked his way up to a Motorhand gig on Rig 60, but while he waits for his home rig to finish its 1,000-day inspection, he’s filling in on others in our Canadian fleet.

Right now, he’s working as a Floorhand helping out the team on Rig 32, currently drilling near Swan Hills, Alberta.

“I’m a people person, so I like helping out where I can,” said James. “I get to meet a lot of new people and experience different rigs.”

What does a Floorhand do, exactly?

We won’t sugar coat it. Working on a drilling rig is hard work. To make a career out of it, you have to love the thrill of it.

“The days are long and the work is pretty physical,” James admitted, “but working on the rigs is what I always wanted to do.”

James and the crew on Rig 32 are on a “20 and 10” schedule (that’s rig speak for 20 days on and ten days off). They work 12-hour shifts, beginning every day with a safety meeting at 7:00 am, sharp.

Once morning meetings wrap up, and James has inspected all the equipment on the rig floor he’ll be using that day, his responsibilities as a Floorhand include:

“The days fly by when you’re tripping pipe or running casing,” said James. “I love being on the rig floor, right in the action.”

For industry newbies, tripping pipe means pulling the drill string out of the hole. It’s usually done when the drill bit has dulled and needs to be changed.

When James and the crews aren’t tripping pipe, they’re making connections on what we call “drilling days.”

When they’re not making connections, Floorhands scrub the rig.

Hey, we get it. Be it your truck, your house, or the drill shack, no one actually enjoys cleaning. To run a safe drilling rig, it’s necessary.

“Cleaning the rig is all good. Scrubbing everything can drag on a little bit, but I don’t mind.”

It wouldn’t be a candid take on working as a Floorhand if we didn’t share one of the less glorious jobs they’re responsible for.

After prying an answer out of James, who honestly couldn’t think of a Floorhand duty he didn’t enjoy, he admitted cleaning the derrick isn’t for everyone.

“You’re just sitting up in the derrick with your wash stuff trying to get every inch of it clean,” laughed James.

“It’s time consuming because I always want to do a good job.”

To be the best, you need to surround yourself with the best

If you’re considering a career on the rigs, but aren’t sure which drilling contractor to seal the deal with, we’ll make it easy for you.

“I’ve always been happy at Trinidad,” said James.

“They’ve always kept me busy and they treat their employees well. They don’t cheap out on safety, they have nice rigs and good management,” he concluded.

“There are no bad days around here.”

Learn more about life as a Floorhand with our “Day in the life of a rig worker” blog series.

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