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Discussions of horseplay can quickly go off track, as talk turns away from the hazards and toward bragging about supposedly humorous exploits.
That’s one of the difficulties in trying to discourage horseplay at work. When these practical jokes and dangerous games do not backfire and result in injury, they make entertaining stories.
Many of us have heard tales of electrical devices rigged up to give a surprise shock, little bombs set to go off, guided missiles designed to startle co-workers and other creative gags. Unfortunately, the effect of horseplay can be far from humorous. Workers are injured and even killed in incidents that start out as fun, when the electric shock causes the startled victim to fall or when the bomb goes off in a bigger way than expected.
Use these resources to remind workers why horseplay simply has no place at work. Despite a funny prank occurring once in a while, the likelihood of pranks resulting in injury is too real to be ignored. Unexpected accidents and incidents can occur because of workers horsing around on the job, and the outcome of this lack of caution can lead to unpredictable injuries to themselves or fellow workers.
A Joke Isn't Funny When It Hurts!
Almost everyone has at one time or another pulled a “harmless” joke on a friend. What would have happened if your prank had back-fired into a tragic incident?
No Room for Pranks, Rough Play
We’re all grownups around here, right? Everyone has a job to do and every job is taken seriously, if you want to keep it. There’s room for humor, but nobody ever gets hurt, physically or emotionally.
Well, in a perfect world the jokes would always be harmless, and everyone would get along just fine. In our world, however, boys will still be boys and men will sometimes act like boys. Women aren’t beyond reverting to childish behavior, either.
How To Stay In the Safety Game
Some athletes can play an entire season of football, basketball, hockey or another sport and never get injured. Why? They are trained to play safely, they use personal protective equipment and they maintain good physical condition.
As a young worker on a summer job, you can expect the same kind of success – if you get training to work safely, use the required personal protective equipment and keep in good shape.
Leave Horsing Around to the Jockeys
If you want to horse around, join the equestrian team or the jockey club, but don’t take part in horseplay at work.
Your job is hazardous enough without having to deal with pranks and other hijinks that can turn deadly in an instant. One former paramedic didn’t realize just how deadly until his co-worker died after a stunt he pulled in Virginia; he used a cardiac defibrillator to zap his colleague as a joke. But it wasn’t funny when she suffered cardiac arrest. The prankster was sentenced to a year in jail. The victim of his moment of fun was a 23-year-old single mom.
Comedy Isn't Always Funny
There’s one at every job site – the practical joker. He thinks he’s pretty funny, but he’s playing around with your safety.
Horseplay on the job is dangerous. Work situations are risky enough already without adding the unexpected hazards of a practical joker.
You know him: He’s the guy who blows compressed air at you, comes up with homemade explosives, hides your safety goggles and pulls your chair out from under you at the morning meeting! You might die laughing over his antics. Serious injuries and even death have resulted from stunts such as these.
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