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This Is How You Become The Subject Of A Health And Safety Poster

, , , , , , , | Working | July 1, 2021

We work with heavy machinery, some of it pretty hazardous. The whole shop floor requires safety boots and chemical-resistant overalls, and some areas also need earplugs and safety glasses.

The company has decided that, because people walk between these areas and a sister site recently had a bad eye accident, the whole site will now require safety glasses.

I don’t think it’s a big deal — it’s clearly for our safety — so I wear mine without complaint. 

Some people, however, have taken massive issue with it and routinely don’t wear them or wear them on top of their head.

It has gotten so bad that anyone who “forgets” their glasses at home more than once has to go home unpaid. Anyone who refuses to wear them gets written up. Repeat offenders get escalated through the discipline process.

Most people comply. Of those that don’t, most only get told off once, but one guy constantly complains, constantly takes his glasses off when he isn’t being watched, and ridicules everyone for wearing them.

One day, [Coworker] gets caught again wearing his glasses on top of his head, this time with his head inside the machine he is cleaning, where there’s a massive risk of getting something blown into an eye.

He storms back out of the office and throws his safety glasses across the workshop. The manager sees this and follows him out, shouting after him. [Coworker] shouts back, pausing only to wipe something from the side of his eye.

But he does it with greasy hands not washed since he cleaned the machine. He gets tiny splinters of metal in his eye. Everyone thinks he is joking, but when he starts to scream in pain, they get him to hospital to pick out the metal.

I don’t think he got written up for not wearing his glasses, but I think he learnt his lesson either way.

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Not Working Smarter OR Harder

, , , , , , | Working | June 30, 2021

A few of us get transferred to a new department. A few weeks in, I get a comment that I’m not as “keen” or as “enthusiastic ” as one of the other guys that moved over with me. Turns out [Coworker] is giving me a bad name by being on the ball, and I should take his lead, or else.

This shocks me as [Coworker] is, in fairness, an idiot. He is utterly useless and can’t manage some of the simple tasks. It isn’t his fault this job just isn’t suited for him.

I am surprised, embarrassed, and a little humiliated, but I suck it up and spend some time with him. Maybe he’s found his element and has some niche.

The next day, I stick with [Coworker]. He starts by spending thirty minutes trying to find the tools he put away yesterday — only to find them in his toolbox where he left them, where he always leaves them — and another thirty minutes deciding what to do first. He then spends two hours doing a job that should take twenty minutes and rewards himself with an extra-long tea break.

Me: “I’ve heard you’ve been doing really well.”

Coworker: “Really?”

Me: “Yeah. Apparently, [Department Head] thinks a lot of you.”

Coworker: “Oh, I know him. He asks me if I’m doing some job or another and I tell him that I’ll do it next.”

Me: “Do you… actually do it?”

Coworker: “Well, by the time I finish whatever I’m doing, someone else has picked it up and it’s normally done.”

Me: “So… as far as he knows, the jobs he’s asked about, you’ve done?”

Coworker: “Maybe. They don’t let me do the important jobs.”

Eventually, and after getting berated again and again for not being as good as the superstar [Coworker], I had to point out that, actually, I was working hard. Someone got the wrong end of the stick and [Coworker] was inadvertently taking credit for other people’s work.

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Bad Work Equals Bad Results. This Isn’t Hard.

, , , , , | Working | June 15, 2021

I work on a moving assembly line. It’s simple work, it’s boring, and the money isn’t great, but after working in so many companies that have fallen over, it gives me peace of mind to have security at work.

A job goes up on the board for more work but a bit more money. I talk with the manager and he lets me know that they are looking for people who want to “step up” and that this is a good way to show that.

I apply and get the job; I’m told no one else applied. I get on really well but get crap from some of the guys. One guy goes beyond banter and seems to have a real problem with me.

Me: “All right. You got your part tally sheets?”

Coworker: “What?”

Me: “The sheet you fill in to show how many parts you’ve done.”

Coworker: “I didn’t do it. If they want to know how many parts I make, they can come and count them.”

Me: “Err… okay.”

I mark “not done” on my sheet.

Coworker: “What? Are you going to run and tell them?”

Me: “Well, no, but I have to put something down or my numbers will be off.”

Coworker: “Little suck up, you’ve changed. You think yourself all high and mighty.”

Me: “I’m doing my job, mate. You don’t want to do yours? Fine. But I’m not getting crap because of it.”

He swears at me for a bit.

Coworker: “I could have done your job, but I’m not a suck-up, ratting people out.”

Me: “I thought it was because you could barely count without using your fingers.”

That wasn’t the smartest response but I felt good about it. I noticed he wasn’t in the rest of the week. Someone had heard him threatening me behind my back, so they called him into the office, where he threatened the manager, who sacked him.

I tried to go back to my old job, but they convinced me to stay. A year later, they said I had really shown extra effort and offered me another promotion. I never heard from [Coworker] again.

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Not Ovary-acting To This One

, , , , | Working | June 11, 2021

I am a female apprentice in a very male-dominated field. None of my coworkers or bosses have ever had an issue with that; in fact, they are all very supportive.

One day, we have an outside company come in to do some work we don’t do, so they come around about once a week. There is a new employee with them. I am tasked with bringing them some things they need.

New Employee: “Uh, what are you doing here?”

Me: “I am doing an apprenticeship.”

New Employee: “Right, but when you’re finished, you’ll work in accounting?”

Me: “Uh, no, I’ll be in the workshop.”

New Employee: “No, really, you should be doing a desk job.”

I think he might be joking, so I laugh, but I realize he’s serious.

Me: “I love my job, so I’m not going anywhere else.”

New Employee: “But it’s not, you know… a job for you.”

I was so flabbergasted that I just walked away, but I vented to my coworkers about it. They all took my side, and I am still astounded by an outside company coming in and thinking they can tell me what job I should be doing.

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Grit Your Teeth And Admit You Were Wrong

, , , , , | Working | June 7, 2021

I work as a repairer and maintainer for a grounds care company that basically looks after the local authorities’ landscaping and does various seasonal grounds maintenance tasks. One summer, our company purchases some new-to-the-market hand-propelled gritting machines in readiness for the next winter season.

Six months later, the snow falls and the gritting machines are taken out and put to use. An hour later, the operator returns to the workshop holding the drive belt in his hand, reporting that the machine lasted two minutes and the belt keeps coming off every time it’s replaced. I inspect the machine and see a major design flaw, and in two days, I manufacture a remedy for the fault.

I phone the manufacturer.

Me: “Your hand gritters seem to have a design flaw. I’ve made a modification, but I want to know if fitting it will affect any warranties we have with your machine.”

Manufacturer: “What flaw? What’s wrong with it?”

Me: “The operator used it for two minutes, and the belt chokes up with the grit and keeps coming off.”

Manufacturer: “Your operator is using the machine wrong; there’s no flaw with the machine.”

Me: “How can he be using it wrong? Grit is loaded in and you push it as you walk.”

Manufacturer: “Well, he must be doing it wrong. We’ve had no problems and no other customers have complained about it.”

Me: “I think the part of the country where I am has had the first snowfalls this winter, so no customers will complain until they get snow and have the opportunity to use your product.”

Manufacturer: “There’ve been plenty of customers using them and you are the only ones to complain. There’s no fault with the machine; it’s your operator.”

I give up and go ahead with fitting the modification, and the machine works flawlessly.

Another month passes and the whole of the UK is hit with major snow. I get a phone call from the gritter manufacturer.

Manufacturer: “Are you the guy who called about the belt constantly coming off our hand gritter?”

Me: “Yes.”

Manufacturer: “I recall you mentioned a modification. Did you design one and did it work?”

Me: “The gritter works fine now.”

Manufacturer: “Ah, great. Was it the modification that sorted the problem?”

Me: “Have you been getting problems?”

Manufacturer: “Erm… no, erm… Nobody else has reported any problems.”

Me: “Well, our gritter is fine now.”

Manufacturer: “Was it the modification that fixed it?”

Me: “It was.”

Manufacturer: “Could you email us the details of the modification? We’d like to look at it.”

Me: “You don’t need it; you said you had no reported problems.”

Manufacturer: “We, err, don’t. It’s just out of interest.”

Me: “You weren’t interested in the initial complaint, so I’m not interested in showing you the design. Besides, according to you, it’s not needed.”

I hung up, but over the next week, I received many emails requesting the design, with their wording still denying any fault with the product.

The next summer, our company received their new product catalogue. The gritter was no longer listed for sale.

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