Drilling Ahead

World Oilfield Forum

Floorhands-Lead Tong & Chainhand


Lead Tong Hand & Chainhand with ST-80 Iron RoughneckThe Floorhand position on a drilling rig consists of usually 2 men, the Lead Tong hand or "worm" and the Chainhand. Floorhands are primarily responsible for assisting the Motorman, Derrickhand and Driller during drilling operations and conducting preventative maintenance on rig equipment.This includes being hoisted in the air to service equipment. Fear of heights could prevent you from becoming a Floorhand. The Floorhands also assist in the mixing of mud and chemicals, clean and paint as required, and assist in moving the rig, rigging up and rigging down.

Floorhands on a drilling rig handle all the drill pipe on the ground and are responsible for bringing the pipe to the rig floor. Of the 2 Floorhands, the lead tong hand or "worm" operates the break out tongs used to break apart the threaded connections of the drill pipe. The chainhand operates the "make-up tongs" which are used to retighten and torque the connections. On some rigs the chainhand is also responsible for using a "spinning chain" to screw the threaded connections together. With the advent and popularity of the iron roughneck and pipe spinners, fewer &  fewer chainhands actually throw a spinning chain on drilling rigs. Being able to follow proper safety practices and ability to learn the operations of drilling rig are essential to moving up the ranks on any rig.

Expect to put in long days of cleaning and scrubbing coupled with mixing chemicals, working on equipment and making new threaded connections as drilling continues around the clock. Safety is the number one priority on any drilling rig and all operations must be completed safely.


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