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Drilling Rig Leasehand and Floorhand

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

  • Avg. Salary $55,841.00
  • Avg. Wage $25.21
  • Minimum Education Less than high school
  • Outlook below avg
  • Employed 4,600
  • In Demand Medium
Also Known As

Floorhand, Leasehand, Oil and Gas Well Drilling Rig Leasehand/Floorhand, Roughneck

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) 
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 Dec 16, 2016

Leasehands are the most junior members of a drilling crew. They may:

  • load and unload trucks
  • perform housekeeping activities such as cleaning ice from walkways, cleaning tools and putting things away
  • drive crew trucks as needed 
  • watch for and remove hazards such as objects in travel routes 
  • assist other crew members.

Floorhands spend a lot of time working on the rig floor. There often are two floorhands on a crew but smaller rigs may have only one. In general, floorhands:

  • use wrench-like power tongs to smoothly and quickly connect and disconnect the lower parts of the drill pipe when it is being lowered into and raised from the hole
  • catch samples of drilled cuttings to be analyzed
  • assist in running casing into a well after it has been drilled
  • clean and maintain equipment
  • perform housekeeping tasks (keep the drilling floor clean, paint or scrub around the rig)
  • assist other members of the drilling crew wherever needed.
Working Conditions
Updated Dec 16, 2016

Working conditions vary depending on rig locations and weather conditions. Leasehands and floorhands work outdoors, often year round in remote locations, exposed to extremes in weather as well as to the dirt, dust, noise and fumes common around rigs.

The work is physically demanding and may involve lifting items that weigh over 20 kilograms. Because the work is potentially hazardous, all drilling crew members must think and act quickly, always follow standard safety practices, and participate in safety meetings and emergency procedure drills. Hazards include:

  • working on wet, slippery rig floors
  • working near or with heavy tools and moving machinery
  • exposure to chemical substances such as paint, motor oil and drilling fluid additives.

Drilling rig workers are responsible for their own transportation to the work site and are expected to move with the rig to new locations. Rigs frequently move throughout western Canada. Drilling rig workers typically work 12 hour shifts over a two week period while staying in camps or nearby towns. They get a week off between two week shift rotations.

  • Strength Required Lift over 20 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Dec 16, 2016

Leasehands and floorhands need the following characteristics:

  • a safety-conscious attitude
  • physical strength and stamina
  • emotional stamina
  • an interest in working outdoors and in remote areas
  • the ability to get along well with co-workers.

They should enjoy working with equipment and machinery, working in a team environment, and having clear rules and guidelines for their work.

Educational Requirements
Updated Dec 16, 2016

Drilling rig personnel acquire the skills and knowledge they need by learning on the job and taking courses. High school graduation is not required for employment as a leasehand or floorhand but may be an asset for further advancement.

Employers require applicants to:

  • be at least 18 years of age
  • hold a first aid certificate
  • hold an H2S Alive certificate (specialized hydrogen sulfide training for rig crews).

The following additional certification also is required for drilling rig workers in Alberta but may be provided by employers through in-house training:

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

Enform in Calgary and Nisku (near Edmonton) is the oil and gas industry's safety association and provides training for drilling and service rig crews.

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

Certification Requirements
Updated Dec 16, 2016

Certification is not required, as there is currently no legislation regulating this occupation.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Dec 16, 2016

Leasehands and floorhands are employed by oil and gas well drilling contractors. Some rigs operate year round but employment often is seasonal. Winter is the busiest season for drilling activity. Late fall and early winter are the best times for inexperienced applicants to inquire about upcoming job openings.

The most important requirements for advancement on drilling rigs are on-the-job training, a positive team attitude and the ability to learn new things quickly. New employees start as leasehands or floorhands and later advance to motorhand, derrickhand and driller positions. For more information about these occupations, see the Rig Technician occupational profile. A conscientious, hard working individual who has good leadership skills can move from a leasehand position to that of rig manager in eight to ten 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 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.

Wage & Salary
Updated Dec 16, 2016

The Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors (CAODC) last issued a recommended wage schedule in October 2014 and suggests a wage of:

  • $28.70 an hour for leasehands
  • $31.50 an hour for floorhands.

When they are working away from home, leasehands and floorhands also may be paid a living or subsistence allowance ranging from $50 a day when in camp to $140 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 $13.00 $29.00 $22.89 $25.00
Overall $15.50 $30.00 $25.21 $25.70
Top $18.00 $42.00 $29.02 $27.70

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.

B: Good Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Good Reliability, represents a CV of between 6.01% and 15.00% and/or fewer than 30 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 50% of all estimated employment for the occupation.

Industry Information
Oil & Gas Extraction
Transportation and Warehousing

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 Dec 16, 2016

Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors (CAODC) website:

Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors (CAODC) employment information websites: and

Enform website:

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


For more information on career planning, education and jobs call the Alberta Supports Contact Centre toll-free at 1-877-644-9992 or 780-644-9992 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Supports Centre near you.

Updated Mar 30, 2015. 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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