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Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 32
Stretch! Every morning for 5 minutes before work ( cause I get to the shop early, in case traffic is hell) Stretch, like you would before a tough work out. All the muscles you can. It helps keep your muscles and tendons loose, and prevents injury. Lift and bend with your knees, not your back. I use that spray on bandage when I get bad cuts on my joints of my hands. It flexes better then any band aid, and it's waterproof. Lasts for days too. Well, best wishes. Oh yeah, don't forget some bag balm, or my favorite, Zims crack creme... it's for the splits in your hands. Best wishes, Brian.

Joined: May 2001
Posts: 717
Who is Glenn Z?? is that GWZ in the post above? I was not aware he had passed away, when, where, how?

Joined: Aug 2003
Posts: 1,374
Good morning George. Yes Glenn was GWZ. He died about 2(?)months ago, I beleive due to natural causes. I beleive he was in his eighties. I really don't know all of the ins and outs of it, sorry.

Ryan Jackson,
Salt Lake City
Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 12
Look no further than that ECN mascot straining over backwards to install a fixture in the left ceiling of this page. He's been at it all day.

Most work can be approached variously to prevent cramps and strains; practices may be improved at some cost in speed. Not so with overhead work!

My solution is to stagger out the ceiling installations over a day between other chores.

Joined: May 2004
Posts: 3
Junior Member
When I was an apprentice (never finished, thinking about going back in) I got hurt mostly by trying to be a hard ass or being afraid of asking for help. The journeyman I worked with most of the time wouldn't tolerate much whining. I have herniated discs/surgery in the back but that could also be from the office job I got afterwards. If you keep your core muscles (ab, back, iliac) in good shape that is absolutely key.

Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 141
Working in commercial ceilings, you'll hit your head on sprinkler heads, which are like spurs. That tends to build up ugly scar tissue all over the head.

Cigarette smokers will drive you nuts in confined spaces. You'll definitely get cancer, throat polyps and sinus infections from the teeming multitudes of rude smokers occupying any and all locations without ventilation. ;-)

Working around other trades makes for plenty of discomfort. Painters painting with oil base in unventilated areas, carpenters cutting formadehyde-laden wood and making clouds of fine airborne wood dust is hazardous to your health, people operating jackhammer machinery on wheels will deafen you. There's some kind of jackhammer thing that's mounted on a large Bobcat type thing, I watched it with a chisel tip just rip through a 4" thick pipe with a 1/4" wall in about 30 seconds, but it's so loud I couldn't work anywhere near it.

Pulling wire can be hard on your back, especially long runs and heavy wire in small pipes.

Working underground (in ditches, etc.) is a real back workout.

I had a boss who demanded of all his apprentices that they wear their tools at all times, and if you have to climb a ladder 200 times in one day, sometimes carrying things, all that weight really starts hurting your knee joints eventually.

I enjoy carrying two 12 foot ladders at a time, and I don't think that hurts me any. Might hurt some people though.

Working on a job where you have to walk all the way across a large concrete slab or hard tile floor, back and forth, all day long, is hard on your feet.

Standing on a ladder all day is surprisingly hard on your feet.

Your neck can get jacked up by lying down on your side to do some types of work - that really can hurt your neck. Also being cramped in a ceiling where your neck is tilted against the ceiling, or being too high on a ladder where your neck is cranked over will hurt it. I find it's best to keep my head vertical at all times to avoid chronic neck pain.

Bosses who like to make you do everything the hard way (as opposed to the efficient way, or the smart way, or the best way) will put your body through plenty of abuse. It's good to have a boss with intelligence and compassion for fellow human beings.

Trying to use a big hole saw on the wrong kind of drill with one hand in an awkward spot will catch and try to twist the drill out of your hand and can hurt your wrist and thumb, I've been there and had to drill many, many holes like that until my wrist gave up. Some drill bodies are in-line and some are like a pistol, and the in-line body styles like to twist your hand off.

You can develop carpal tunnel syndrome trying to cut all your cable with dikes, for example - it's better to get cable cutters for the larger wire and MC cable. It's a lot easier and you won't strain your forearm muscles and hands.

[This message has been edited by Spark Master Flash (edited 05-13-2004).]

Joined: Oct 2002
Posts: 10
someone needs to find out if all of these posts were enough to scare macwire off of the trade and out of that apprenticeship with IBEW.

Joined: May 2004
Posts: 50
I can add to the tally, Shattered nasal bone joint from a dropped pair of Footprint grips 18 years ago, Fractured skull from a dropped scaff clamp..I had a hard hat on!!

Broken Arm from tripping over some pipework a plumber hadn't fixed properly.

I also have a bad back and neck. I am not sure how much of the back/neck issue os job related though. As an apprentice I was in the 10th Battalion (Reserves), The Parachute Regiment and completed 178 jumps..they didn't all have happy endings [Linked Image]

This is all exacebated by being 6ft 4" and 280 pounds (I need to lose about 20 pounds to get to ideal weight for body frame)

The moral a short stocky bugger with thick skin, skull and should retire in one piece then [Linked Image]

Joined: Apr 2004
Posts: 812
I found this post looking for a thread on asbestos.

I want to go into electrical work, despite the problems you guys/gals describe. With my family's history of medical problems, I'm screwed anyways. Besides, I'd rather have an aching back and legs than a heart attack due to heart disease, which I'd get while working in an office.

Ian A.

[This message has been edited by Theelectrikid (edited 08-29-2006).]

Is there anyone on board who knows how to fly a plane?
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 98
BrianSparky: you mentioned that wearing a pouch caused your left leg/back to go numb.
What is happening is the weight of your pouch pinches your sciatic nerve which causes the numbness. This started happening to me 15 years ago, now I carry fewer tools, experiment with tiny, slip in your pocket pouches. The grand experiment was the purchase of an Ideal square, sit-on-the-floor pouch. This enables me to carry far too many tools, is hard to dig many items out of, yet allows the secure support of a bottle of my favorite beer when I'm working for friends on the weekend or wiring up some rock & roll event.
Mac, what other posts above did not make clear about the PCB issue: Insulating oil, a familiar name was Askarel, as used in transformers and capacitors, MV switches, etc. This oil contains PCB's,a compound produced in the mfg. of the oil, which will getcha, over time. The most famous horror story involving PCB's is entitled Times Beach, Missouri. A dusty little town West of St. Louis, where an enterprising individual sprayed the dirt roads with used oil he was hauling off from Union Electric facilities in the city. For years. The oil contaminated the groundwater and all the soil close to the streets and the toxin levels were so bad that the EPA bought the town, fenced it in, removed any signage on I-44 directing one to the place. I accidentally found the place one day, thought, Wow! what's with all the chain link and ugly signs???

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