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.