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Roustabouts perform a wide range of tasks, from picking up trash at well sites to running heavy equipment. Part of their work involves clearing sites that have been selected for drilling and building a solid base for drilling equipment. Roustabouts cut down trees to make way for roads or to reduce fire hazards. They dig trenches for foundations, fill excavated areas, mix up batches of wet concrete, and pour concrete into building forms. Other jobs include loading and unloading pipe and other materials onto or from trucks and boats.
Roustabouts also dig drainage ditches around wells, storage tanks, and other installations. They walk flow lines to locate leaks and clean up spilled oil by bailing it into barrels or other containers. They also paint equipment such as storage tanks and pumping units and clean and repair oil field machinery and equipment.
The tools roustabouts use range from simple hand tools like hammers and shovels to heavy equipment such as backhoes or trackhoes. Roustabouts use heavy wrenches and other hand tools to help break out and replace pipe, valves, and other components for repairs or modifications and truck winches for moving or lifting heavy items. Roustabouts also operate motorized lifts, power tools, and electronic sensors and testers. They may also operate tractors with shredders, forklifts, or ditching machines.