A floorhand on an oil drilling rig has a junior position requiring long shifts and heavy physical labor. He connects and disconnects pipes, collects samples, cleans and maintains rig equipment, and assists other members of the crew as needed. About half of all drilling rig floorhands earned more than $21 per hour as of 2010.
Floorhands on a drilling rig generally receive hourly pay and work a great deal of overtime. They commonly work 12-hour shifts while living on the worksite for two or more weeks, then have extended time off. In 2008, nearly half of all types of mining extraction worker helpers worked more than 40 hours per week, and 36 percent worked more than 50 hours per week, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
The average salary as of May 2010 for all types of mining extraction worker helpers was $17.82 per hour, equaling $37,060 per year for those working a standard full-time schedule, according to the BLS. Extraction worker helpers employed specifically in the oil and gas industry had a significantly higher average salary, at $21.52 per hour, or $44,760 per year at regular full-time hours.
The middle 50 percent of the salary range for all extraction worker helpers in the oil and gas industry in 2010 was $14.43 to $28.83 per hour, or $30,010 to $59,960 per year. The bottom 10 percent had wages of $11.77 per hour and less, while the top 10 percent earned $35.08 per hour and higher, or $72,960 per year and more. This includes all helpers, including those working on land. The Oilfield Directory website ranks rig floorhands on the higher end of the pay scale, at $25 to $30 per hour.
Points of Interest
Drilling rig floorhands live on the rig when scheduled to work and receive meals as part of their work package, according to Oilfield Workers Registry. The BLS comments that many companies only hire rig workers with previous oilfield experience, such as work with a land crew. After advancing to offshore work, rig floorhands develop skills that can help them move to higher-paying positions such as motor hand, derrick hand or driller.