A toolpusher, often referred to only as pusher, serves as a drilling crew’s foreman at an oil rig or at any other extraction site. Given his supervisory role, the toolpusher holds responsibility for the drillers, but is tasked with performing mainly administrative procedures like ordering and maintaining the equipment and material base.
The toolpusher is to arrange for the different tools and equipment needed for a specific job. One must know well the rig’s different parts and equipment. Often there are productivity standards that must be complied with, and the toolpusher is the one responsible for doing everything necessary to complete the task. Some particular positions might call for the toolpusher to work for long stretches of time on an oil rig, thus making everyday home visits impossible.
A toolpusher’s work day consists of:
- Management of the daily drilling operations, monitoring the work process and handling any potential problems
- Making sure that all of the required equipment, resources and materials are present at the site
- Selecting, hiring and controlling workers and making sure they have a proper training
- Scheduling the crew members’ shifts and rotas
- Making sure that all health and safety regulations are being obliged, such as the wearing of special protective clothing and the proper use of safety equipment
- Managing emergencies
- Liaising with oil company representatives that visit and inspect the oil site
- Conducting or making sure that regular inspections of the rig are being performed
- Providing assistance to other crew members, like the rig manager and the driller, for the rig’s effective operation
In most cases, a high school diploma will be the least requirement for getting the job. You would also need strong computer-orientated skills, due to having to carry out a number of administrative tasks. Job hours tend to vary, and in given cases you will have to work at night.
Often you start as an oil rig roustabout and thus gain experience. You could be promoted via the position of a roughneck, derrickhand and driller up to toolpusher or oil rig manager. Given that you work hard you could achieve this in roughly 5 years.
A toolpusher’s starting yearly salary can be anywhere from £46,000 to £56,000. An experienced toolpusher may receive roughly £110,000 annually.