Derrick Hand

The Derrick Hand plays a crucial role in the operations of the oil and gas industry, specifically in drilling occupations. This position is pivotal in ensuring the smooth functioning and safety of the drilling team. A Derrick Hand is typically responsible for handling the uppermost section of the drilling apparatus, working high off the ground on the derrick – the structure used to support the machinery used to drill oil wells. Due to the nature of their work environment, Derrick Hands must maintain high safety standards and be prepared to respond to operational challenges efficiently.

Key Responsibilities

Derrick Hands are responsible for a variety of tasks centered around the smooth operation of drilling processes. They manage the upper part of the drilling string as it is brought from or lowered into the wellbore, play a significant role in stacking and guiding sections of the drill pipe, and monitor the condition of the drilling mud system. They also have a hand in operating the mud pumps – a task that involves controlling the flow and filtering of the drilling fluid (mud), and managing the solids control equipment. Additionally, Derrick Hands are expected to perform regular maintenance on derrick equipment and assist in training newer crew members.

Typical Duties

The specific duties of a Derrick Hand include but are not limited to:

  • Monitoring the condition and flow of drilling fluids and taking necessary measures to avoid spillage.
  • Inspecting the derrick before operations to ensure it is securely fastened and functioning correctly.
  • Handling, sorting, and stacking drill tools and pipes, and ensuring that drilling operations are carried out smoothly and efficiently.
  • Assisting in the operation of the mud pump and being accountable for mud weight and viscosity.
  • Performing maintenance on the drill and its associated equipment to prevent malfunctions or safety issues.
  • Ensuring compliance with safety regulations and emergency response procedures.

Education and Certification Requirements

Candidates for the position of Derrick Hand should ideally possess a high school diploma or its equivalent. However, further education in fields related to petroleum engineering, mechanical engineering, or other relevant technical disciplines can be beneficial. Additionally, various certifications may be required or preferred, including but not limited to:

  • Well Control Certification
  • Fall Protection Training
  • First Aid and CPR Certifications

Practical experience in the field is crucial, often necessitating several years on a drill crew. Moreover, as the role demands a significant amount of physical work and dexterity, physical fitness and agility are essential qualities for a Derrick Hand.

The position of Derrick Hand is demanding but plays a critical role in the effective extraction of oil and gas, contributing significantly to the energy sector. Candidates with a strong commitment to safety, a keen sense of responsibility, and the ability to work collaboratively will excel in this role.

Derrick Hand salaries in 2024

How much can Derrick Hand make? It depends on their location and experience. Below you can find an average salary in the US and UK to have an idea.

🇺🇸 $54,746.5

In the United States, Derrick Hands make $54,746.5 per year on average.
The range is $38,080-$71,413 based on seniority and location of the individual.

🇬🇧 £39,201

In the United Kingdom, Derrick Hands make £39,201 per year on average.
The range is £35,077-£42,997 based on seniority and location of the individual.

Salary information for Derrick Hand is not available.

The information above has been collected in 2024 from various online sources.
The information above has been collected in 2024 from various online sources.
The information above has been collected in 2024 from various online sources.

Free Job Description Template

Create Your Own

Company Introduction

Welcome to [INPUT: COMPANY NAME], a leader in the oil and gas industry. With operations spanning across [INPUT: GEOGRAPHIC AREA OF OPERATIONS], we are dedicated to providing top-tier energy solutions while prioritizing sustainability and safety. As we continue to grow, we are looking for skilled individuals to join our team and help us drive success in this dynamic field.

Job Description

We are currently looking for a dedicated and experienced Derrick Hand to support our drilling operations. As a vital member of our team, you will play a key role in ensuring the safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of our well drilling activities. This position requires a strong commitment to safety protocols, excellent teamwork skills, and the ability to work in a physically demanding environment.


  • Operate and maintain drilling rig diesel motors, transmissions, and other mechanical equipment.
  • Assist in the installation and removal of drilling equipment and tools from the derrick.
  • Monitor drilling operations and communicate effectively with the Driller and other platform staff.
  • Conduct regular inspections and maintenance on the derrick equipment and drilling area to ensure safety.
  • Handle the storage and proper handling of drill pipes, casing, and drilling tools.
  • Comply with safety regulations and practices, and ensure the safety of all crew members.
  • Participate in safety meetings and training sessions as required.


  • High School Diploma or equivalent educational qualification.
  • Proven experience as a Derrick Hand or similar role in the oil and gas industry.
  • Knowledge of mechanical systems and hydraulic equipment.
  • Strong communication and teamwork skills.
  • Physical stamina and the ability to work in harsh weather conditions.
  • Certifications in safety training and first aid (preferred).

Perks and Salary

At [INPUT: COMPANY NAME], we value our employees and offer a competitive salary package, which includes:

  • Competitive wages based on experience and qualifications
  • Health, dental, and vision insurance
  • 401(k) with company match
  • Paid time off and holidays
  • Continuous training and development opportunities

How to Apply

If you are interested in joining our team as a Derrick Hand, please submit your resume and a cover letter through our online application system at [INPUT: URL WHERE APPLICANTS CAN APPLY]. We are excited to hear from you and explore the possibilities within our team!

Interview Questions for Derrick Hands

Create Your Own

Can you describe your previous experience working on a drilling rig?

This question aims to evaluate the candidate's familiarity and hands-on experience in a similar role. Understanding their past roles and responsibilities will help assess their suitability for the demanding environment of a derrick hand.

What safety protocols do you follow when working on a rig?

Safety is paramount in the Oil & Gas industry, particularly on a drilling rig. This question is designed to understand the candidate’s awareness and adherence to safety measures, which is crucial to maintaining a safe working environment for all staff.

How do you handle instructions from multiple supervisors during high-pressure situations?

This question tests the candidate’s ability to manage stress and follow commands under pressure. Effective communication and obedience to the chain of command are essential qualities for a derrick hand, especially during critical operations.

Can you give an example of a complex problem you solved on a rig and what was the outcome?

Problem-solving skills are critical in the Oil & Gas industry where equipment failure or other issues can pose serious risks. This question seeks to gauge the applicant’s ability to troubleshoot and resolve issues effectively and efficiently.

Describe a time when you implemented a new procedure or technology on the rig. What was the process and the result?

Innovation is key to improving efficiency and safety on drilling rigs. This question aims to uncover the candidate’s capability to adopt new methods or technologies and their approach to driving change within their team.

Explain how you maintain effective teamwork with your colleagues in a derrick crew?

Teamwork is crucial in the often-isolated environment of a drilling rig. This question intends to evaluate the candidate’s interpersonal skills and their ability to collaborate with others to achieve common goals.

How do you adapt to sudden changes in work plans or unexpected challenges that arise on the rig?

Adaptability is a valuable trait for a derrick hand because drilling operations can face rapid changes due to weather conditions, equipment issues, or other external factors. This question assesses the candidate’s flexibility and resilience.

What motivates you to work in this challenging and physically demanding role?

Understanding what drives the candidate will help in evaluating their passion and commitment to the rigors of the job. This insight is important for long-term engagement and retention.

Where do you see your career in the Oil & Gas industry in the next five years?

This question helps in understanding the candidate’s ambition and career planning. It also aids in determining whether the candidate's long-term goals align with the company’s path and opportunities for advancement.

How do you align with our company's core values and culture in your professional life?

Assessing cultural fit is as important as evaluating skills and experience. This question seeks to determine how well the candidate's values and professional behavior align with the company ethos.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Derrick Hand in the Oil & Gas Industry?

The Derrick Hand is a key crew member on drilling rigs, responsible for operations centered around the rig's derrick. Derrick Hands handle the uppermost section of the drilling string as it is brought from or lowered into the drill hole, monitoring and ensuring the safety and efficiency of operations from high above the rig floor.

What are the primary responsibilities of a Derrick Hand?

Derrick Hands are primarily involved in:

  • Manipulating the sections of pipe or drill stem at the rig floor,
  • Operating and maintaining the derrick or mast and associated equipment,
  • Monitoring the condition of the drilling fluid and the rate of fluid circulation,
  • Conducting regular inspections and maintenance on derrick equipment,
  • Ensuring all safety protocols are followed during rigging up or down and during drilling.

What qualifications are required to become a Derrick Hand?

Qualifications for a Derrick Hand typically include:

  • A high school diploma or equivalent,
  • Previous experience in lower roles on a drill crew, such as a Floorhand,
  • Physical fitness and the ability to handle physically demanding tasks,
  • Training or certification specific to the operation of drilling equipment, which may include a rig pass, H2S awareness training, and first aid certification.

How do you advance to a Derrick Hand position?

Advancement to a Derrick Hand position usually follows significant experience in other drilling rig roles. Starting as a Roughneck or Floorhand, workers typically learn the operations of the rig, gradually taking on more responsibility and undergoing training until they are competent and qualified to manage the derrick.

What are the career prospects for a Derrick Hand?

A Derrick Hand, with further experience and additional training, can advance to higher roles such as a Driller or a Rig Manager. These positions involve greater responsibility and oversight of the drilling operations and crew management. With the oil and gas industry's global span, career opportunities for skilled Derrick Hands can be abundant and geographically diverse.

What are the challenges and risks associated with the Derrick Hand position?

The position of a Derrick Hand involves several challenges and risks, including:

  • High physical demands and potentially long hours,
  • Risks associated with working at heights and handling heavy equipment,
  • Exposure to hazardous conditions such as extreme weather and potentially explosive gases,
  • Necessity for constant vigilance to maintain safety standards.

How important is safety training for a Derrick Hand?

Safety training is crucial for Derrick Hands due to the high-risk environment of oil rigs. Comprehensive training in emergency response, hazard recognition, and the safe operation of equipment is essential to minimize risks of accidents and ensure the safety of all personnel on the rig.

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