Oscar Hill- Driller
 
Wayne (Oscar), shared with us his thirty year journey in his occupation of being a driller. Oscar had wanted to be a driller since he watched the movie 'Giant' at the Tudor theatre.  He thought that drilling was an occupation that would cater for someone who liked the odd adrenalin rush and the good old fashioned chauvinistic lifestyle.  The easy part was the desire to join the drilling world but it was considerably harder to get an invitation to participate. Then once hired, it was just as hard to pass the unofficial everyday tests to hang in there.  It was a hard life and one with a high risk factor but that was all compensated by the humour and the characters on that crazy ride with you.
 
Oscar started his drilling career in 1980 in the Great Victorian Desert in Australia.  On the journey, Oscar lost some good mates.  In those days, it was pretty easy to get killed and even easier to lose body parts and too many good people did.  But, friends became mates for life and that alone was worth it.
 
Oscar shared with us many of his drilling stories starting with the cowboy era of drilling in the 1970's.  A drillers shift was 13 hours, a 30 minute handover at the end of each shift and with a minimum of 91 hours per week.  If the drilling rig broke down, the hours were longer.  The rig never shut down unless it was broken down.  Downtime was considered to be a sin.  It was always production over safety.  'Do it or go home'. The bad accidents were mounting up.  It got to the stage where something had to be done safety wise.  The Companies weren't interested but the drillers were all behind increasing safety.  Safety was finally driven by Insurance Companies and a massive rise in premiums. 
 
The rise of Health and Safety started well with experienced people making sensible decisions.  All the drillers bought into it.  It was effectively done in a year.  Then, the government passed the 'Duty of Care Law" and that created the all powerful empire that we have now.  Safety became overrun by young people armed with a University degree - no work experience and even less life experience.  So things were driven by theory and paperwork.  By the time Oscar finished his drilling career, the 12 hour day became about 8 hours of production and the rest was paperwork, compulsory lunch and smoko breaks in the name of fatigue management.
 
Oscar was thanked by Norman Johnston for his very entertaining and thoroughly enjoyable presentation.
 
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