I've said no to more than one sewage filled crawl space.
Two jobs stood out in my mind immediately as I read this post. Great post by the way.
Originally Posted by zw17
1. I WAS the new guy. 21, fresh out of college before my apprenticeship, working with a smarty third year apprentice installing an RTU in January late into the night. He wanted me to punch a 2.5" hole into the side of a 75 year old brick building to run the mains and stat wiring. It was in a snow bank, standing on the top step of a 6' ladder with the hammer-drill above my head... I honestly got up there and pulled the trigger... for 1/2 a second. I went back in to the building said it was stupid and he huffed and puffed and left me there, thinking he was so much better than me. He came back in 2 minutes later bleeding from his head.. "What happened?!" "I fell off the ladder and the drill landed on me!" We drove 30 miles home in silence, it was all I could do to not laugh and say "I told you so, you idiot!" That job didn't last much longer...
2. Starting off in my own business, I tended to take jobs that I was a little less than comfortable with, usually because of money, but sometimes not, but this one... At the beginning of December, some 15 years ago, I got a call from a concrete casting shop that they had a unit heater in the shop not working. I had never seen the place, let alone been inside a concrete casting factory. As soon as I got there I realized this was a job for a cherry-picker, but when I said this, the night supervisor had this bright idea to have me walk out, tools etal, no lie, 50' across the top of a two beamed crane to service this unit! No hand rails, no safeties, just a flat walk across the crane! Each beam was 2' or 3' wide with a 3' opening, which suspended the power lift between them. It was at least 100' across and rode on rails 40' or 50' in the air. I have dealt with many indoor rail cranes before but this was the biggest I had ever seen! It just happened to pass 3' below the unit heater in question.
That has been the one and only time I have ever been called a coward in this career. ("What are you, a coward?" still rings in my ears.) How I didn't pitch him down the access hole from the 5th floor, I don't know. My blood was boiling! I was out of there in 1 minute flat without a word to anyone or I swear, they would have had to shoot me to pull me off the guy.
Two months later, February, the company was up on charges for unsafe operation when one of their employees was sandwiched to death after an unsecured full-size wall casting fell flat on him.
You couldn't be more right, safety is a bad word to many service managers. Backing yourself up with the right answers is the way to go, that is difficult to do as an early learner though. New guys just don't have experience in accidents. That is why companies like them so much....till they get them hurt!
I have learned that if a customer calls me for a bid, and says he has already had a "few", that it MOST likely isnt worth my time. I'm not going to make myself the lowest bidder just to get the job any more. I'll be there repairing the low bid jobs anyways.
I cant say I will pass up on a job because it is in a crawl, a nasty spot, etc. I dont mind getting dirty...
When I worked for companies, I did alot of jobs that were not safe. I don't remember ever saying no to a job. Looking back I did some jobs that I would never think of doing today! I have made it 35 years now without breaking a bone in my body, I want to keep that streak going now that I am out of shape and getting old lol...