Oil Rig Workers

  • Markus F. C. SteinerEmail author
  • Anthony D. Ormerod
Reference work entry


This chapter describes the workplace and exposures for oil rig workers who are dealing with the drilling and well maintenance on an oil rig (on- or off-shore); however, offshore workers include many other job categories, which are described in other chapters. Drilling fluids are complex and vary along with drilling conditions and are combinations of hundreds of different chemicals and substances. They are broadly divided into oil-based/nonaqueous and water-based drilling fluids. The drilling fluids may be irritant, and olefins in drilling fluids can cause severe irritant reactions and may be tested by a ROAT test; other substances which are added to drilling mud like calcium bromide can lead to severe chemical burns when handled in their raw form, but are unlikely a cause of concern once mixed into the drilling muds.

Di-ethylene triamine (DETA) and Tri-ethylene tetramine (TETA) are used as emulsifiers in drilling fluids and have been the main cause of outbreaks of allergic contact dermatitis.

In marine placements, epoxy resins are used extensively for rust prevention and subsea equipment.


Oil rig workers Drilling fluids Di-ethylene triamine DETA Tri-ethylene tetramine TETA Oil-based drilling fluids Nonaqueous drilling fluids Water-based drilling fluids 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.GO Heath ServicesNHS Grampian Occupational Health ServiceAberdeenUK
  2. 2.Department of Applied Medicine, Department of DermatologyUniversity of AberdeenAberdeenUK

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