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Know the West

The rough lives of roughnecks

  Regarding the “Disposable workers of the oil and gas fields” story, I worked as a derrick and floor hand back in 1968 in New Mexico. Drillers are always under pressure to get in and out of a hole, no matter what the cost.

If you complain about safety or work conditions, you may find yourself working in a very abusive environment with all the deckhands. I had been told that some accidents aren’t accidents. I have lived with severe back pain for over 30 years because I ran to get a drink of water and then was forced to lift out a 250-pound floor clamp.

Drilling is one of the most punishing jobs around, but for the money sometimes the only one available.

Tom Demogines
South Hill, Washington