Worms for Hire

It’s not what you may think…

The energy industry certainly has unique terminology. Position titles such as worm, swamper, mudman, gangpusher, and floorman are just a few examples. In my quest to create a comprehensive career ladder/lattice diagram for the energy industry, I would like to share with you information I’m gathering along the way.

In the energy industry a "worm" is an unskilled manual laborer. You’ll not likely see this term as a job title in ConnectingColorado.com, rather, titles such as "floorhand", "roustabout" and "leadhand" are commonly substituted (but duties/titles may vary among different employers).

Worms are usually the lowest member of the drilling crew hierarchy, above a ginsel—a worm’s helper--and below a roustabout / leasehand. At some companies, such as Ensign Energy Services, the leasehand is the entry-level position.

Worms / leasehands are responsible for doing whatever needs to be done on the grounds around the oil & gas rigs. Duties include basic tasks such as cleaning, digging ditches, moving equipment/supplies, building fences, and mixing drilling “mud” (fluid mixture used to lubricate & equalize the pressure when drilling wells). Crews generally consist of 5-10 members and sometimes several crews will work on one rig.

As with most field positions in oil & gas, work hours on rigs are normally 12 hours on and 12 hours off continuously for two or three weeks, followed by an equal amount of rest period at home. The work is hard and physical, in all types of weather, are in remote areas, and employers have zero-tolerance for drug use (frequently using surprise hair or urine analyses).

Workers live closely together like a family, sleep together, eat together and have to trust each other—they must cooperate in a group, led by a team leader termed "gang pusher" (ConnectingColorado job order #CO5255994). Accommodations are generally provided by the employer, in local hotels/motels or in "man camps"--groups of mobile homes, many comfortably equipped with food, cable, and internet.

For more information about these types of positions and employer-specific qualifications, please refer to the following job order numbers on ConnectingColorado.com (note: if the job is no longer available, you may not be able to view any information). There's also some more information on my Halliburton Intern post

CO5252371, Roustabout $12/hr in Craig (3.5 hrs W. of Denver)
CO5258048, Floorhand $22/hr in Wray (3 hrs E. of Denver)
CO5241792, Floorhand $16+/hr in Grand Junction (4 hrs W. of Denver)
CO5260035, Roustabout $14+/hr in Meeker (3.5 hrs W. of Denver)

With the exception of jobs in local utility plants, on local transmission lines, and the like, most entry-level field/laborer positions in oil & gas are located 3-5 hours west, south, and east of Denver, and include positions such as:

- Water truck drivers (CDL required, some require haz mat and/or tanker endorsements, and some will consider employing ex-offenders)
- Fracturing Operator Trainees
- Pipeline helpers / apprentice pipefitters
- Apprentice electricians
- Apprentice welders
- Heavy equipment operators
- Yard drivers (transporting crews)

Now you know what a worm is.


Dan said...

how does one go about getting a 'worm job' without any experience?

Lynn Sargent said...

Great question Dan!

1) As I write this response, there are six companies who have posted Roustabout positions (requiring no experience) on ConnectingColorado.com. (see 'Connecting Colorado' post for search tips)

2) See the 'Job Links on Delicious' post to view other company websites for a list of what positions they have open.

3) Check out the short online assessment for Drilling Rig Floorhand at: http://www.mcmurrytrainingcenter.com/screener.aspx (McMurry is WIA approved in Wyoming--see the 'Schools' post for more info)

4) Please be sure to also read my 'Halliburton intern' post to learn what these jobs entail.

5) After all that, if you still think you're qualified, prepare yourself to attend the 'E3 Job fair' on September 25th (see that post for preparation tips). Hope to see you there!

Thanks for your question!

Lynn Sargent said...

PS: there's also advice on the "So You Want To Be A Roughneck?" forum at www.oilfieldtalk.com

Anonymous said...

HI I looking for someone to get me in on an oil rig as a worm , floorhand I have no experience at all . I have worked in the demolition business all my life now it is real slow.my number is 773-370-2675 email is surge1974@sbcglobal.net ./// I will give you my entire first paycheck to whoever gives me an oppurtunity ALSO I have 5 children to feed... PLEASE HELP I AM AN HONEST HARD WORKING PERSON >>>>

Eric said...

I will be taking the floorhand class at the Mc Murrary training center in casper wyomming on Dec 1st and will be needed a job as soon as i finish which is Dec 5th phone number is 970-347-0778
email is eweimer18@yahoo.com

Lynn Sargent said...

Dear surge1974: you shouldn't have to give your first paycheck away -- since you don't have the experience yet (according to our chat), consider trying the work temporarily. SOS Staffing and Aerotek may be able to get you placed.

Dear Eric: if you graduate McMurray, they may be able to refer you to a job. Have to spoken to them about this yet?