What is an Extraction Worker?

Also known as: Oil and Gas Extraction Worker, Earth Driller, Extraction Craft Worker.

The term "extraction worker" is extremely broad; it refers to any professional involved in extracting resources from the ground or the sea. Members of an oil rig crew are extraction workers, as are miners and anyone else who drills, siphons or otherwise removes material from the ground or ocean.

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What does an Extraction Worker do?

Extraction workers often work with heavy, dangerous drilling equipment such as gigantic drills and boring tools. If an extraction worker needs to reach a resource located deep beneath the surface of the earth, he or she may use a series of depth charges to quite literally blow holes in the ground.

The specific tasks required of an extraction worker depend almost entirely on the type of material being extracted and the environment from which it must be removed. Extraction workers in the mining industry design mine layouts, organize the transport of machinery into and out of the mine, conduct safety inspections and drills, monitor the volume of material extracted, and communicate with administrators and executives from the mining company headquarters.

Extraction workers in mining scenarios are often charged with keeping the other miners safe. To do that, they must understand the physics of tunnelling into the specific type of ground in question, and determine what measures will be effective safeguards against a catastrophic mine collapse. In the United States and many other developed countries, extraction workers accomplish this using the "long wall" strategy, which uses an enormous grinding machine to shave long, narrow strips of rock and pulverize the material, which is carried up to the entrance on a lengthy conveyor belt. Long wall mining is the safest mining strategy yet developed because it uses a series of huge hydraulic buttresses to support the tunnel roof in areas that have already been mined. These supports provide a guarantee against potentially fatal ceiling collapses.

An extraction worker on an oil rig may monitor the flow of oil, adjust the speed or position of the drilling arm, check for malfunctions throughout the rig and document the volume of oil pumped each day. The most extreme oil-related extraction positions call for immersion diving, which means that workers descend to the ocean floor inside a diving bell and live on the sea floor for up to one month at a time. Because their diving bell is pressurized to the same degree as the ambient pressure on the ocean floor, the divers can come and go as they please without the danger of decompression sickness. Immersion diving saves time and money; it's also less stressful on the human body than repeated cycles of compression and decompression.

What is the workplace of an Extraction Worker like?

Extraction workers commonly work in oil fields, coal mines and other outdoor locals. These environments may be sweltering in the summer and freezing in wintertime.

Workers may also have to collaborate with others who do not speak the same language fluently, or whose perspective on etiquette differs substantially from their own. These issues can cause havoc in a cramped diving bell hundreds of feet below the surface of the ocean. Extraction workers must do their utmost to respect everyone around them and foster mutual respect. Safety will be jeopardized if this does not happen.

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