Definition - What does Roughneck mean?

Roughneck is a term which is used to represent the labor force on an oil rig. Apart from drillers on the oil rig, there are other people who perform hard manual labor operations on a rig. This term is also associated with other industries; however, it is more commonly used with oil rigs.

Petropedia explains Roughneck

Oil rigs have various job roles based on which jobs are performed by people on the rigs, one of them is the drill crew which has five different job roles:

  1. Drilling Engineers
  2. Assistants
  3. Derrickhand
  4. Pump man
  5. Roughneck
Roughneck positions are considered as an entry level position on a rig and the crew hired for roughneck position has to be open for hard labor. Roughnecks have to work on the rig floor as well as in mud room and have to operate heavy machines and equipment.
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