A Toolpusher, often referred to only as a  Pusher, serves as a drilling crew’s foreman at an offshore or onshore drilling site.  The Toolpusher holds primary responsibility for the safety and supervision of the site drilling crew, and is also tasked with performing administrative procedures like ordering and maintaining the equipment and material base. The Toolpusher also arranges for the different tools and equipment needed for a specific job. Toolpushers will typically work a 12 hour shift, and this may be on a day shift or nightshift as drilling is a continuous 24 hour process.

About this role

Typical duties

  • Manages the daily drilling operations programme ensuring that safety is the primary focus
  • Monitors work processes and work progress, handling any potential problems
  • Makes sure that all of the required equipment, resources and materials are present at the drilling site, including drilling tools, fuel, water, and other supplies
  • Selects, recruits and supervises workers and makes sure they have appropriate and proper training
  • Schedules drilling crew members' shifts and work rotas
  • Makes sure that all health and safety regulations are being met
  • Manages emergency situations in line with company procedures ensuring that the safety of personnel is paramount
  • Conducts regular inspections of the drilling rig and equipment
  • Provides assistance to the rig manager, and other drilling crew members as required
  • Reports any breaches of safety procedures to supervision / management
  • Actively participates in and promotes company health and safety campaigns, policies and procedures, and ensures personal safety and that of colleagues at all times
  • Provides support as part of the drilling emergency response team

In the industry

Works closely with drilling engineering and completions teams, to drill for oil and gas in new or existing fields. Toolpushers can be employed onshore or offshore, and are typically hired by specialist drilling and well services companies that provide contracted services to the operating companies. The typical career development route for a Toolpusher is via an initial position as a Roustabout. Based on experience gained, there are a number of more senior positions including Roughneck, Derrickhand and Driller which an individual will progress through until reaching the level of Toolpusher. The timescale for an individual to progress from Roustabout to Toolpusher will vary, and is usually between 5 and 10 years.


  • Office
  • Outdoors
  • Offshore


  • University
  • College
  • Apprenticeships

What do I need?

Key Skills

  • Managing people
  • Team working
  • Verbal communication
  • Written communication
  • Problem solving
  • Analysing
  • Planning
  • Organising
  • IT
  • Numerical
  • Practical
  • Creativity
  • Working to deadlines
  • Flexibility


Entry requirements:

  • Basic offshore induction and emergency training (BOSIET)
  • Offshore Medical Certificate
  • OPITO Minimum Industry Safety Standards (MIST)
  • Minimum work experience in a mining or oil-related company for 1-3 years is required.

Employers might also look for:

HNC or equivalent in engineering related subject