Operating an offshore drilling rig or production platform safely and efficiently requires intense teamwork involving a wide range of workers. A floorman, also commonly referred to as a roughneck, operates a range of equipment involved in the drilling operations. He is commonly employed by either a petroleum production company or a drilling and well service contractor. A female floorman is called a floorwoman.
Good manual dexterity is necessary for a floorman to effectively operate rigging equipment. She needs to be aware of safety procedures and precautions related to the operation. Skills in reading and interpreting instructions are necessary, as well as oral communication abilities to work with team members. The ability to repair and maintain equipment, tools and pipes is required.
A floorman is instrumental in all aspects of setting up, maintaining, disassembling and transporting oil rigs and service equipment. He is responsible for cleaning the area during and after the drilling operations. Moving and manipulating pipes and drill stems is a big part of his job. If materials need to be moved around the rig, a floorman is frequently required to drive the truck as well as load and unload the cargo.
On the positive side, a floorman can normally find work in any country in the world. On a less positive note, work hours are commonly long, with 12-hour shifts and 12-hour breaks for periods of up to three weeks. The work is extremely physically demanding and requires a lot of bending, stretching and standing on high platforms and scaffolding.
The weather is often harsh and stormy. The rigging equipment is noisy, and the environment is typically dirty and damp. Getting to and from the rig requires helicopter travel. Floormen are usually required to live in offshore cabins with other oil rig workers.
There are no educational requirements to be a floorman. Most floormen are initially hired as roustabouts, the entry-level job on oil rigs. Roustabouts are trained in oil rigging operations, firefighting, safety and offshore survival techniques for two to three weeks before being transported to offshore rigs.
Floormen have many chances to be promoted. Most are promoted from roustabout to floorman in around six months and then have opportunities to advance to assistant driller and driller, which commonly takes about five years. Drillers are frequently promoted to rig management positions. According to salaryexpert.com, the annual salary range in the United States in June 2010 for a floorman ranged between $27,477 and $64,785.