Lads On Ladders - Look Out For The New Guys

Lads On Ladders - Look Out For The New Guys

08th July 2014

We’ve all heard stories of new apprentices having the mick taken out of them in some way or another when they arrive on the job.  It’s a great British tradition to wind up the new boy by sending him off to look for skyhooks or some new sparks for the grinder.  The list of tricks is practically endless – here are some of the funnier pranks that new employees have been subjected to over the years:

  • Send the new guy to the store room to get a tin of tartan paint
  • Send the new boy looking for a new bubble for a spirit level
  • Send the new employee to fetch a left handed screwdriver or hammer
  • Send the apprentice out to the suppliers to ask for a box of glass nails
  • Send the new guy to fetch a bucket of steam

This can go on and on – the only thing that will limit you is your imagination.  However, while a joke of this type can be great for breaking the4 ice, dealing with a new young employee is actually a serious business, especially where health and safety is concerned.  By all means, have a laugh with your new colleague, but make sure you have a sense of responsibility as well and look out for him as he learns his way around the job.  Most importantly make sure that any pranks you do play on the guy are safe and do not breach health and safety regulations.

One of the most dangerous ways of working is working at height – there are still several deaths and countless injuries that result from falls every year in the UK.  This means that none of the pranks you play should involve working at height or ladders (unless you’re asking the kid to go and fetch a skirting board ladder).

All old hands in the construction industry will have a wealth of information to pass on to the new boys.  There will be tips and tricks as well as advice of all sorts and it’s pretty important that this knowledge is passed on to new generations of construction workers.  However, try to think about any new young worker as if he were your own child and treat him as you would want your kids to be treated when they are new on the job.  The experienced construction workers need to be looking out for the new kids on the block and making sure that they use safe working practices at all times. 

It’s a well known fact that youngsters will be inexperienced and may be tempted to take the easiest route and cut corners.  If you see this, then step in and tell the guy – don’t just tell him how to do it right, but explain the dangers that may be involved in doing it wrong so that he has a good idea of the reasons why a job is done in a particular way.  These new guys will be looking to you to act as mentors and guide them through the first few months as they get used to working and learning a trade.