A tool pusher works on-site at an oil or natural gas drilling rig to coordinate and supervise operations. He or she performs a number of important administrative duties to ensure workers fulfill their job duties. People in this job also schedule regular preventive maintenance on machinery and personally inspect rigs to ensure they are kept safe and in proper working order. Most begin their careers as laborers on rigs and advance within their companies to managerial positions with years of experience and proven leadership skills.
Land and offshore oil rigs can be very busy, dangerous places to work. It is the responsibility of the tool pusher to make sure workers are kept on task at all times. The supervisor explains daily duties and monitors the quality of workmanship. He or she performs many of the same duties as administrative professionals in other settings, such as setting workers' schedules and distributing paychecks. In addition, a supervisor regularly meets with workers to address performance issues and discuss safety concerns.
A knowledgeable tool pusher is able to identify and remedy minor problems before they become major setbacks. A professional regularly inspects rigs to make sure tools, machines, and drills are clean and in good shape. If machinery needs to be repaired or replaced, the tool pusher coordinates with mechanics to get the job done as quickly as possible.
In addition to supervising laborers and performing quality control, a tool pusher may also be responsible for hiring and training new workers. He or she might determine the need for additional labor, create advertisements, conduct interviews, and place new workers in appropriate positions. He or she often leads classroom instructional courses and practical, on-site training programs to prepare workers for their new jobs.
There are no set educational requirements to become a tool pusher, though most professionals hold at least high school diplomas. The majority obtain their positions after proving their skills in other rigging jobs. It is important for a person in this position to gain experience as a laborer so he or she can fully understand the mechanics of oil rigs. In addition to gaining practical experience, some tool pushers decide to pursue associate's or bachelor's degrees in business administration to improve their credentials and their understanding of management. With a degree, a skilled tool pusher may have the opportunity to advance further within a company to the ranks of head supervisor or executive officer.