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#188665 08/23/09 07:07 PM
Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 244
wewire2 Offline OP
I think every apprentice has at least one job oriented blooper under his belt. We had an apprentice who obviously wasn't focusing on his workmanship. The foreman walked into the room he was working in and found that he was just finishing up installing a recessed lighting can. The only problem was that he installed it upside down. He'll never hear the end of that one. When I first got started, my boss asked me to go to the supply house and pick up a huge amount of 3" DB PVC 20' sticks and deliver it to the job. I thought I was supposed to do it all in one trip. I stacked way to high and way too many conduits. I also used way too few ropes to tie it to the lumber rack. I approached a stop sign and the car in front of me slowed very quickly. As I applied pressure to the brakes, I could see the pipe starting to slide forward. I had no choice but to stop. To make a long story short, the pipe kept going. In what seemed like slow motion I watched as the car in front of me was bombarded. The tail lights exploded and the trunk was
dented beyond repair. I tie stuff down real good now. Anyone else have any stories?? Oh yeah and if you've ever had a ladder chase you down the road, now's your chance to admit it!! smile

Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 947
twh Offline
I had a ground rod leave the top of the truck. It seemed to pick up speed when it bounced off the hood.

One apprentice installed switches on the plug outlets. I'm not sure if that's a blooper, though. It seems like something else.

A guy I worked with went up an escalator with an 8 foot ladder standing straight up. The cement ceiling on the second floor was less than 8 feet.

twh #188670 08/23/09 11:24 PM
Joined: Dec 2000
Posts: 4,294

At my old job, they used to send me apprentices from a temp agency. You had to watch them every minute, though.

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]


Joined: Apr 2003
Posts: 362
My budy and I were both apprentices and were hurring back to the shop in the oldest van in the fleet. When the side door poped open(cause of all the tools we just chucked in)and there they went. We were going about 65mph down hill on the Merrit Pkwy. I think we got real lucky no one behind us at the time and we were able to back up and retrieve everything. well except for the scratches on the hole hawg and some other stuff.

Choose your customers, don't let them choose you.
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 745
I had a new helper who was working with me to install a ceiling outlet in a residential garage for an opener. Directly above was a bedroom where we planned to get a feed from an existing receptacle that backed up to a closet. From inside the closet, I pulled the carpet back and drilled a hole down with an 18" feeler bit so he would know where to cut in the box. I told him to cut the hole, then drill up into the wall by positioning his bit 2" away from where my hole was. Since all he could see was the bottom of the plywood sub floor, I told him to be very careful when drilling in case he was off the mark. I didn't want him to snag the carpet with the drill point.

He carefully drilled up until he almost popped through the sole plate of the wall and stopped. I had to pull out the existing box for the bedroom receptacle since we would have too many wires in it. Once I had it removed, I told him that I'd drop the cable down to him through the opening I had upstairs to work with. "Just watch for the cable and grab it when you see it", I said.

As I went to drop the cable through the hole, I found that he hadn't quite finished making it through the plate, so I reached down with my finger to clear out the wood chips in the hole.

Yep, you guessed it.....As soon as he saw something in the hole, he grabbed it with his needle-nose pliers. This ended up being the tip of my finger. He completely ripped the fingernail from my index finger.

In usual electrician fashion, I wrapped my gushing finger with toilet paper and electrical tape so we could finish the job. After that, he drove me to an urgent care clinic and they managed to bandage me up properly.

While he apologized profusely, I did have to wonder who was truly at fault here. I did tell him to watch for the cable and grab it. Maybe he took me too seriously.

My helper and I ended up being the best of friends after that and within a few years, he graduated to the level of mechanic and got his own truck. That was over 25 years ago and we still laugh about it every time we talk.


"But the guy at Home Depot said it would work."
Joined: Jul 2007
Posts: 85
One of the guys who I used to work with, was on a service call at an open Taco Bell. He sent his helper out to grab the meter, meaning his multi-meter. About two minutes after the kid walked out the door. the place goes dark..So being the typical electrician the journeyman goes to look why, just as the apprentice is walking in the door with the meter, off the wall.

Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 68
25 years ago I wired a maintenance facility for garbage trucks in Maryland with 60' steel parking lot poles, each with two 1000 watt fixtures. At the time of installation I had the nuts and washers but not the lock washers for the 1-1/4 anchor bolts, so we installed the poles without them. When the lock washers came in I gave them to an apprentice to install. It is probably obvious now what happended. On the first pole, he removed all of the nuts, installed the lock washers and retightened the four nuts. On the second pole, he was not so lucky, but a guy driving a Toyota pickup truck sped up just enough to avoid the falling pole. When I called the project manager at Dynalectric to tell him what happened, I realized that I failed to state the obvious, only do one bolt at a time. Only one fixture was damaged, so we got somewhat lucky. The same apprentice eventually went away for other reasons, such as leaving my keys in the side door of the van on a downtown Washington, D.C. street two days in a row and leaving my wheelbarrow full of tools on the street behind my van at a construction project (the following day, the wheelbarrow's muddy track could be seen wandering down the street toward a housing development). I hope he is no longer in the trade!

Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 61
Wirenuts29: That made me laugh pretty good. clap


Last edited by TOOL_5150; 08/27/09 04:19 AM.

I would rather beg for forgiveness then beg for permission.
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,445
Likes: 3
Cat Servant
I had a guy helping me once; to save on gas, he would meet me at the shop, and we would continue to the distand jobsits in my truck.

Well, one day the traffic was rather demanding, and I had little time to 'supervise' the helper as we drove out to the site. About halfway there, I heard the crackle of a food package as he crumpled the now-empty wrapper and tossed it into the waste bin.

I was puzzled by his next remark. "John, that beef jerky was pretty stale." He had been eating MY stuff in the truck .... in this case, the 'puparoni' I carried to treat the jobsite dogs.

When I stopped laughing, and explained this to him, he said "That's messed up," as if it were MY fault. I pointed out that he really had no business eating what he thought was my lunch.

Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 1,803
A few years back on ECN we had the tricks played on apprentices [ go to the store and ask for a long weight, go get me a left-handed teacup, a bucketfull of blue steam, a bubble for a level, etc.].

My biggest blooper as an apprentice was when machining a couple of big steel castings on an ancient gear-and-rack planer, exappropriated from the Kaiser after WWI. The return cam finally had enough, danke, and snapped clean off. The table and castings, several tons in all, slid off the bed and gracefully shoved the hated new-fangled coffee machine, [sixpence for a plastic cup half-full of dishwater], through a partition wall into the Gentleman's Ablutions.
Unfortunately, the Foreman was in there [ having an Ablute! laugh ] and was trapped for twenty minutes 'till we block and tackled the way clear. Luckily he was unhurt.

Wood work but can't!
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