If you’ve never worked on a large construction site let me prepare you; it’s a whole different ball game than working in service or residential. After reading this post I felt that this would be a great topic to share and elaborate on.
Your goal when working on any large scale project should be to finish it.
As a new electrician or apprentice your skills will help set you apart from the other bozos working on the job. For a two to three year project, it’s not only job security but a chance to learn hone your skills.
Did I mention that these types can be a cluster of multiple trades working in close proximity to each other? Well get ready to equipment convoys down small hallways and people always in your way. There’s no way around it – just do you best.
Survival Guide for a Large Construction Site
#1 Keep Quiet
Don’t start talking smack to the other trades and especially to other groups of electricians.
They can make your life hell by hiding materials, tools, and other equipment. While you’re running around the site like Sherlock Holmes trying to solve a mystery, they’re getting work done.
#2 Open Your Eyes
You’re not in Kansas anymore. There’s always someone working on something in your area, on the way to your work area, outside the break room, next to the port-o-john. Keep your head on a swivel.
When you first step onto the job site start scanning the area looking for important areas like break rooms, port-o-johns, and alternate exits.
You might end up saving someone’s life who has a stage 4 clinger on deck by pointing them in the right direction to the nearest port-o-john. Almost always guaranteed to score you some major points.
#3 Cover You A%#
When working on a site upwards of 30-100 electricians you have to cover your ass. What exactly does CYA imply?
Put forth a good work ethic. You’re going to see lots of slackers and people complain about “this” or “that” – don’t fall into that trap. If you’re an apprentice, you’re job is to assist your journeyman – so do just that. Force yourself to do good work and outshine others but don’t take 2 hours to bend one piece of conduit.
There’s a learning curve to everything. If you don’t know how to do something – speak up. It’s better to say you don’t know how to do something rather than burning a whole day trying to figure it out.
If you follow these tips your journeyman will pass on your badassery to the foreman and you could have a good shot at staying with the contractor for future projects.
Carry a small notebook. By doing this you can quickly write down conduit bend measurements, material lists, circuit layouts, or draw diagrams. And don’t forget to keep a daily log of what you’ve done. If your foreman asks what you’ve accomplished you don’t have to try and remember.
Lock your tools. If you don’t have a tool box, lock your tool bags in the gang box. Tools disappear faster than a cupcake on the Biggest Loser and you sure don’t want to buy a whole new set of tools when you’re just getting started on the job. Take your tools home as a last resort.
Don’t get involved with stupid stuff. On a large construction site cliques start to form and the jackassery can run rampant. Stay away from it. You’ll be the better man for being focused on your work and steering clear of stupid games. Supervisors notice what goes on and if you’re consistently doing the right thing – you’ll get noticed.
At the end of the day if you’re the one being a better man and you’re focused on doing your work and not getting into stupid bullshit with those guys, people notice.
I took this quote from reddit user /u/venusblue38
If you play stupid games, you win stupid prizes. Don’t play stupid games.
#4 Be Safe
The rush to get things done may be overwhelming at times and taking short cuts might seem like a good idea. Don’t do it. Let me be clear on this,
YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR SAFETY!
It’s not only your employer’s responsibility for your safety. When you begin energizing equipment make sure if you have to work it that you follow proper lock out/tag out procedures.
Use ladders correctly. OSHA and possibly your supervisor will have their boot so far up your butt for failing to use basic equipment correctly, you may get kicked off the construction site. Plus a fall off anything above a step ladder can put you in the hurt locker.
Pay attention to where you’re going and what you’re doing. Twisting your ankle or breaking your leg by walking into a freshly cut core in the floor isn’t fun. Be cautious of CAUTION and DANGER tape. It’s usually there for a reason.
Look out for extension cords on the ground and hanging from the ceilings. Don’t become a fly tangled in a web of 120 volt cords.
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