When to say "NO", how to say "NO", and the jobs you have said "NO" to...
The word "No". It's quite possibly the first word we learn as children but now that we are grown adults it's quite possibly the word we hate to hear the most.
We have all worked for them, the boss that treats you as a number, whether it be a truck number, sales number, or profit for the company number you are just a number. These are the bosses that put you at risk and can get you hurt or worse, killed. So how exactly do you protect yourself against these types of people? The word "No".
I was in the trade for maybe 10yrs when I met my 1st "numbers boss", he was a real wanker and pushed the company line firm and hard. He was the type of guy that would keep you from seeing your sons 1st baseball game to run a service call because it had been on the books since 9am and the dispatcher had forgotten about it, to him it was all about the money, no human compassion what so ever. It was a Friday afternoon around 3pm, the first warm day of spring and you are itching to get done with work to start a great weekend of warm weather, I call in to clear my last call and tell them to have a nice weekend when he comes over the Nextel and advises me that they had one more call on the books and I would need to run it, I am heated but drive across town to get someone some A/C.....
It was a 10 story condo building and by the time I arrived the sky's to the west had gotten dark, it was a typical mid spring thunderstorm rolling in as they do every year here in Ohio. As I took the elevator to the 9th floor and introduced myself to the customer the storm had closed within a mile of the building. The customer explained that the A/C stopped working a week ago (typical right? Wait until Friday to call) and they had no idea what was wrong. I went through my standard indoor procedures, check the filter, make sure the blower is working, check for a call for cooling, insure the coil isn't a ball of ice, etc... Everything checked out, so off to the roof I go....
To access the roof you needed to take the freight elevator to the 10th floor which was a mechanical penthouse, from there you could walk out on the rubber membrane roof though a set of double doors. As I stepped off the elevator I was rocked by the first clap of thunder and thought to myself, "How lucky you are, this will wait until Monday!" Not according to my boss... I got on the Nextel and rang up Mr. Humanitarian and advised him that due to inclement weather we would have to reschedule, he rudely shot back that this was a high profile customer and we needed to fix the issue at all costs. This is where I could have told him to shove it but I remembered learning from an old timer that you never say "NO" without a solution.... So I gathered my thoughts and keyed up on the mic... "John, I really don't feel safe going out on the roof in a lightening/rain storm in a sea of copper and steel to troubleshoot a live 480v unit, if I am to do this I will need a second person on overtime to insure my safety, a full protective arc flash suit, and I would like to see certification that the lightening rod system on this building is current and in good working order"
Bam! I had beat him at his own game. They were all valid requests and he didn't have much wiggle room, actually he had none because I wasn't going out on that roof no matter what he said. Needless to say he got back on the horn after a 2 minute pause and told me the dispatchers would reschedule it for Monday. That service manager later got a guy hurt by sending him into a house with two aggressive dogs, the tech got chewed up pretty bad and had a legal suit filed against the company. I no longer work with the company because of the manager in question.
The moral of the story is this...
If you feel unsafe DON'T DO THE JOB, WALK AWAY, but before you walk away come up with a solution or even two solutions, that way you don't get blamed for being a lazy tech looking for excuses to not work.
Example: Boss asks you to service a AHU up in a warehouse ceiling 20' high. You have nothing but a extension ladder to reach it but you must balance the ladder against a I-beam next to the unit and lean a good 3' over the rail. Obviously not a good idea. Instead of saying, "F%#$ this my boss is a dirty a##hole" Gather you thoughts and call him advising him that you have no safe way to service this unit with what you have, suggest that a man lift with be easier and safer, leave the ball in his court and wait for his response. Now if he comes back and says that a lift just isn't in the budget and the unit needs work today, well then you have to stand your ground and let him know that under no circumstances will you be breaking OSHA rules to service this unit and you leave it at that.
Remember folks, no job is worth losing your health or life....
So, what kind of calls have you refused to run because of safety? I could write a book on some on the ones I have said no to.
Guess i am lucky..my boss is pretty cool about those kinds of things..i will work in rain..will not in lightning. he has even said "its going to be lightening, that call can wait till this afternoon when the storms have passes" I cant reach with the 12 foot steap ladder "i will send one of the apprentices with the lift..have them stay there and help then send him back here when u are finnished"
Nice post. The company Im at wont let us do unsafe stuff. If there is no way to service it safely, we wont service it. The safety director will come out and look at the jobsite and tell the customer what they need to do to remedy the unsafe situation. If they wont , no service. A workmans comp claim costs alot more than your going to make on a service call or two.
Your poor planning does not constitute an emergency on my part!!!!
I refused one job that I can remember.
Found a header leak in a mechanial room. Also in that room was a diesel tank that the maintenance team had seriously overfilled. The room stunk so bad it almost made me ill. I called in and said "No way am I lighting a torch in that room."
Went back the next day and, after the room was clear, fixed the leak.
No one here has encountered white rubber roofs in the winter time? If they have any kind of slope to them I refuse to work on the units.
White rubber roofs + Snow or frost = Broken bones or death
White rubber roofs are EVIL!
I HATE them.
They blind you in the summer, blind you worse in the winter, make the ice impossible to see.
I do the 'shuffle' when I walk across them. My feet never leave the roof. I just scoot along.
New guys are much more likely to try something unsafe. No-one likes to say no to their new boss. No that I have been doing this a while, and have tenure at this company, I don't mess around. I know I won't be fired for refusing to get hurt or refusing to work in cat poop.
Dispatchers don't know what their getting you into, but they do know how many calls need to be done. The tech on the spot has to be the one to decide if something isn't safe.
Exactly. Being a 'go getter' is a great attribute in a young service tech but knowing when to say when is a even better attribute in my opinion.
Originally Posted by bja105
Don't be scared to say no if you feel unsafe, ask for help and if refused then walk off the job.
Originally Posted by zw17
White rubber roofs??????
Excellent point. The first time I encountered one, was about eight years ago. It was an early morning service call for a commercial kitchen MUA unit. Anyway, I get up on the roof and noticed this nice shiny white roof job. Between the bilco hatch and the flat area of the MUA unit, was a slight slope. Not thinking much about it, I proceeded down the slope to the unit. Well, just as you stated earlier, I must have hit a patch of light frost, because I went flying off my feet. Me and my tool bag were like sleds down a snowy hill. Luckily, I and my tools slid right into the MUA, which thankfully stopped my slide. You know, I never saw any slippery surface, but how can you....its white for crying out loud.
Originally Posted by zw17
Anyway, later on, I told the guys at the shop what had happened to me. I wanted to warn them to be extra careful around these white roofs. I could tell that some had already knew by their facial expressions. They had almost fallen on their arses too.
"Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power."
Originally Posted by tinmandad
slightest frost can make them worse than ice
I must be a real SOB of a Boss.....
I have no problem yanking guys outta hot attic when they don't have it ventilated, getting them down from ladders,yell at them for hauling things over the edges of roofs, or taking a call(s) so they can get to a family thingy.
That steel roofing covered with a slight coating of snow will guarantee you a busted arse. Even a flat steel roof is almost impossible to walk on. I have to agree, a white membrane roof is slick. Even when wet.