Horseplay in Construction
Is Horseplay Dangerous?
There is a very thin line between harmless play and dangerous horseplay. In most situations, even the most seemingly harmless joke or action can result in serious injury or worse. The majority of jobsites that take safety seriously prohibit any and all activity that can be considered horseplay.
Definition Rowdy or boisterous play; gay or light-hearted recreational activity for diversion or amusement Typical on the construction site between fellow workers, usually within a familiar team or crew
Is Horseplay Dangerous?
To safety-conscious companies, horseplay can be defined as any distracting or frivolous activity deviating from the task-athand. Even though most companies claim zerotolerance with such activity, strict supervision and disciplinary action alone has proved ineffective.
Is Horseplay Dangerous?
OSHA Reporting Requirements specifies that all injuries sustained from horseplay are reported under the injury sustained. There is no „horseplay‟ category:
Example: Two workers are slap-boxing on a roof. One worker steps of the roof and sustains a fall injury. The injury is reported as a fall.
Due to the method by which injuries are reported, there is very little data that can accurately illustrate the impact of horseplay on a company‟s Recordable Injury Rate.
OSHA regulations only indirectly address horseplay as a safety issue. There are only a few examples in which such actions are specified as intolerable and/or a cause for an OSHA violation. Due to recent events, this may change. Horseplay has become an increasing problem with the ability to film stunts and display them on video sites such as Youtube.
Title 29 Code of Federal Regulations, Parts 1900-1926 – OSHA - Appendix A to _ 1910.1450
(23). (g) Horseplay: Avoid practical jokes or other behavior which might confuse, startle or distract another worker (23).
Example: OSHA Compliance Checklist (Page 3, Traveling, #9)
Examples of Horseplay
The following examples were pulled of a jobsite tool box talk:
Distracting a worker who is performing a job. Startling your fellow worker. Playing tricks on young or new workers. They may become confused to the point where they injure themselves or someone else. Wresting, Indian style or tag team. Wrestling matches can be held after working hours, not on the jobsite. Showing off with feats of strength. You may drop something on yourself-or someone else.
Actions to Prevent Horseplay Injuries
1. Don‟t play into horseplay. Don‟t initiate it. Don‟t get pressured into participating in it. Don‟t ignore it. 2. Work defensively. Watch out for other people. Be aware of how their unsafe acts might affect you. At the same time, be aware of how your actions might affect others. It‟s a lot like driving defensively.
3. Stop it or report it. If you see horseplay, try to stop it. If you can‟t, report it to your supervisor. You are not being a kill-joy or a snitch. You‟re taking responsibility for safety. You could be saving a life.
4. Set a good example. People will respect you if you take a stand against horseplay and come down firmly on the side of safety. And others will follow your lead. The result will be a safer workplace for all.
Jobsite horseplay is especially popular in the UK. Numerous videos involving horseplay in construction have been surfacing on Youtube . This occurrence was the primary subject of debate at the All Party Parliamentary Building Services Engineering Group at its most recent meeting.
As a result, certain companies have began to regulate cell phone use on site, because these videos have been taken using cell phone cameras. This poses a problem because cell phones have become an effective method of communication on the modern construction site.
Litigation due to horseplay exists. When approaching horseplay issues, the Larson's Workers' Compensation Test is utilized. It consists of four evaluation points:
The scope and seriousness of the conduct's deviation from employment activities. Whether it was co-mingled or separate from work duties Whether horseplay is accepted in the workplace in question Whether the nature of the job typically includes horseplay
Horseplay Does Exist
This is a blatant example of dangerous horseplay on the jobsite. This video was shown at the All Party Parliamentary Building Services Engineering Group Meeting. Extreme Horseplay- Please Mute Volume (Worker is being penalized by fellow worker for not wearing a hardhat. He attacks him with gypsum board repeating “Where‟s your hardhat?!?” Victim is not pleased)
Even harmless fun can become fatal.
Remember to be a smart worker, not a smart aleck. Keep horseplay away from the job!