Roustabout  What They Do

Just the Facts


Assembles or repairs oil field equipment using hand and power tools. Performs other tasks as needed.

This career is part of the Architecture and Construction cluster Construction pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Keeps pipe deck and main deck areas clean and tidy.
  • Unscrews and tightens pipes, casings, tubing and pump rods, using hand and power wrenches and tongs.
  • Walks flow lines to locate leaks, using electronic detectors and by making visual inspections, and repairs the leaks.
  • Moves pipes to and from trucks, using truck winches and motorized lifts, or by hand.
  • Bolts together pump and engine parts.
  • Guides cranes to move loads about decks.
  • Supplies equipment to rig floors as requested, and provides assistance to roughnecks.
  • Dismantles and repairs oil field machinery, boilers and steam engine parts, using hand tools and power tools.
  • Cleans up spilled oil by bailing it into barrels.
  • Digs drainage ditches around wells and storage tanks.

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Agriculture and Natural Resources

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 50 lbs., sometimes up to 100 lbs. You will need a lot of strength at this level.
  • Work in this occupation involves keeping or regaining your balance more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves bending or twisting your body more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves use of protective items such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hearing protection, a hard hat, or personal flotation devices
  • Exposure to pollutants, gases, dust, fumes, odors, poor ventilation, etc.
  • Requires getting into awkward positions
  • Lighting is either extremely bright or inadequate
  • Conditions are very hot (above 90 F) or very cold (under 32 F)
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Exposed to conditions such as high voltage electricity, combustibles, explosives, and chemicals more than once a month
  • Exposed to hazardous equipment such as saws, machinery, or vehicular traffic more than once a month
  • Exposed to hazardous situations involving possible injury such as cuts, bites, stings, and minor burns more than once a month
  • Sound and noise levels are loud and distracting
  • Work in this occupation requires being outside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves making repetitive motions more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves use of special protective items such as a breathing apparatus, safety harness, full protection suit, or radiation protection
  • Work in this occupation involves standing more than one-third of the time
  • Whole body vibrations, such as when operating a jackhammer
  • Work in this occupation involves walking or running more than one-third of the time
  • Work at heights above 8 feet more than once a month on structures such as ladders, poles, scaffolding, and catwalks

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Picking out a particular sound in the presence of other sounds
  • Judging how far away an object is, or which of several objects is closer or farther away
  • Bending, stretching, twisting, or reaching
  • Seeing clearly at a distance
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person
  • Exerting oneself physically over long periods of time without getting out of breath
  • Lifting, pushing, pulling, or carrying objects
  • Using abdominal and lower back muscles repeatedly or over time without tiring

Work Hours and Travel

  • Irregular hours
  • Overnight travel
  • Rotating shift work
  • Weekend work

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Cathead Operator --
  • Derrick Worker --
  • Oil Field Worker --
  • Roughneck --