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Drilling Rig Leasehand and Floorhand

Leasehands and floorhands work on rigs that drill oil and gas wells. They case wells with pipe and do general labourer duties.

  • Avg. Salary $50,914.00
  • Avg. Wage $26.07
  • Minimum Education Less than high school
  • Outlook below avg
  • Employed 4,800
  • In Demand Lower
Also Known As

Completions / Gas Well Drilling Rig / Oil / Workover Floorhand, Completions / Gas Well Drilling Rig / Oil / Workover Leasehand

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Oil and Gas Drilling, Servicing and Related Labourers (8615) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Oil and Gas Drilling, Servicing and Related Labourers (I215) 
  • 2011 NOC: Oil and gas drilling, servicing and related labourers (8615) 
  • 2016 NOC: Oil and gas drilling, servicing and related labourers (8615) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

Average Wage
  • Certification Not Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift over 20 kg
Interest Codes
The Drilling Rig Leasehand and Floorhand is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Oil and Gas Drilling, Servicing and Related Labourers

Interest in comparing information to handle, sort and move drill tools, pipes, cement and other materials, and to clean up rig areas; may drive trucks to transport materials and well service equipment


Interest in operating equipment to manipulate sections of pipes and drill stems at rig floors during drilling and for removal and replacement of strings of pipes, drill stems and bits


Interest in maintaining drilling equipment on drill floors

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Updated Mar 31, 2019

Leasehands are the most junior members of a drilling crew. Once they are trained and certified on load equipment, they may load and unload casing or tubing trucks and loaded mud trucks. Mainly, they:

  • Do housekeeping activities, such as:
    • Cleaning ice from walkways
    • Cleaning tools and equipment
    • Putting rig tools and equipment away after use
  • Help other crew members do odd jobs
  • Help other crew members fulfil rig manager requests
  • Watch for and remove hazards, such as debris and objects that are in the way of travel

Floorhands work on the rig floor. They clean and organize tools, tool sheds, and rig equipment work areas. There often are 2 floorhands on a crew of 5 people. While not common, smaller rigs may have only 1 floorhand. In general, floorhands:

  • Learn to operate power tongs, which connect and disconnect the lower thread ends of tubing or drill pipe (when it is being lowered into and pulled from the cased or open-hole wellbore)
  • Catch samples of circulation returns or drilled cuttings on a drilling rig (to be analyzed by geologists on site)
  • Help run tubing or casing into a well after drilling is completed
  • Clean and maintain equipment as per the rig manager’s or company’s policies
  • Perform housekeeping tasks, such as:
    • Keeping the service rig work floor or drilling floor clean
    • Painting, organizing, or scrubbing around the rig
  • Help service or drilling crew members as instructed
Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Working conditions vary, depending on rig locations and weather conditions. Leasehands and floorhands work outdoors all year-round, rain or shine, warm or cold. They work in remote locations. They are housed and fed in camps for a crew rotation schedule. They may experience extreme weather. They may be exposed to oil, chemicals, dust, high-noise areas, and controlled fumes around the rig work environment.

The work is physically demanding. It is also potentially hazardous. As a result, there are times when service rig and drilling crew members must think for themselves and act quickly. They must also:

  • Follow standard and outlined safety practices and procedures
  • Attend safety meetings, including JSAs (Job Safety Assessments) and PJHAs (Pre Job Hazard Assessments)
  • Participate in man-down drills, blowout drills, and emergency procedure drills

Hazards include:

  • Working on wet, oil- and mud-covered substructures or slippery service rig floors
  • Working near or with heavy tools and equipment at all times, including their moving parts
  • Being exposed to WHMIS-controlled chemicals, diesel, varsol, drilling muds, and mud-mix additives including rig motor oil, glycols, and hydraulic oils
  • Being exposed to work that involves steam, high pressures, hydraulic fluids, mud, and electricity

Drilling rig workers are responsible for getting to and from their assigned sites. They move with the rig to new locations, which can be remote. Rigs often move throughout western, northern, and central Canada. Drilling rig workers typically work 12-hour shifts over 2-week periods. This periodically includes schedules with 7 days off, pending rotations assigned by their employer. They stay in camps or nearby towns.

  • Strength Required Lift over 20 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Leasehands and floorhands need:

  • A safety-conscious attitude
  • Good physical condition, strength, and stamina
  • The willingness to remain drug free
  • Emotional well-being, including emotional stamina
  • An interest in working outdoors, away from home, and in remote areas
  • The ability to get along with co-workers and take instruction daily
  • The ability to understand the chain of command on rig work sites

They should enjoy working with heavy equipment onsite. They should be comfortable working with clear rules and guidelines. They should enjoy being on a team and working as a team.

Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Drilling rig staff can acquire the extra skills and knowledge they need on the job and by taking courses, if needed. A high school diploma is not required, but it may be an asset for quicker advancement within the company.

Employers require applicants to:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Hold a first aid certificate with CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation)
  • Hold an H2S Alive certificate (specialized hydrogen sulfide training for rig crews)

The following additional certifications are also required for drilling rig workers in Alberta. They may be earned through in-house training:

  • Petroleum Safety Training (PST) or equivalent
  • Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS)
  • Transportation of Dangerous Goods (TDG)
  • Electronic General Safety Orientation (eGSO)

Energy Safety Canada (in Calgary and in Nisku, near Edmonton) provides training for drilling and service rig crews. It is the industry’s safety association, but other organizations also offer this training.

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2019

There is currently no provincial legislation regulating this occupation in Alberta.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Leasehands and floorhands work for oil and gas well-drilling contractors. Some rigs operate year-round. But the work is often seasonal, including spring break up. Winter is the busiest season for service rig and drilling activity. Late fall and early winter are the best times for applicants with no experience to ask about openings.

New employees on a drilling rig start as leasehands or floorhands. With on-the-job training, a positive attitude, and the ability to learn quickly, they can advance to motorhand, derrickhand, and driller positions. For more information about these occupations, see the Rig Technician and Service Rig Personnel occupational profiles. A conscientious, hard-working person with leadership skills can move from leasehand to rig manager in 8 to 10 years.

Leasehands and floorhands are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 8615: Oil and gas drilling, servicing and related labourers. In Alberta, 80% of people employed in this classification work in the following industries:

The employment outlook (pdf) in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • Size of the occupation

Over 4,500 Albertans are employed in the Oil and gas drilling, servicing and related labourers occupational group. This group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 0.9% from 2016 to 2020. As a result, 41 new positions are forecast to be created each year, in addition to job openings created by employment turnover. Note: As drilling rig leasehands and floorhands form only a part of this larger occupational group, only some of these newly created positions will be for drilling rig leasehands and floorhands.

Although expected occupational growth is below average, frequent recruitment is needed to deal with employment turnover, especially as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years. Experienced employees are in high demand to deal with vacancies.

In Alberta, the I215: Oil and Gas Drilling, Servicing and Related Labourers occupational group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 0.9% from 2016 to 2020. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 41 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2019

The Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors (CAODC) last issued a recommended wage schedule in 2016. The suggested wage is:

  • $28.00 an hour for leasehands
  • $29.00 an hour for floorhands

When they are working away from home, leasehands and floorhands also may be paid a living or subsistence allowance. This may range from $40 a day when in camp to $110 a day where there is no camp.

Oil and gas drilling, servicing and related labourers

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $15.00 $34.62 $22.56 $20.00
Overall $17.00 $40.38 $26.07 $25.00
Top $21.00 $47.12 $30.69 $27.74

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

A: High Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

High Reliability, represents a CV of less than or equal to 6.00% and 30 survey observations and/or represents 50% or more of all estimated employment for the occupation.

Industry Information
Oil & Gas Extraction
Transportation and Warehousing
Professional, Scientific & Technical Services

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years


Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties


Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months


Vacancy Rate

Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Trades, Industrial and Related Training
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors (CAODC) website:

Energy Safety Canada website:

Petroleum Human Resources (PHR) Careers in Oil and Gas (COG) website:


Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 31, 2019. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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