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Glossary of Terms

Glossary of Terms

work safe or die trying final.jpg

Scan 51
Stinger: a clamp you put a welding rod in and hold in your hand. 

Fire Watch: Person who stands there while you are welding to make sure that you don’t catch on fire or start a fire beyond yourself. Fire watches are paid to do nothing. Their only task is to stand there and do nothing and put out a fire when one is created. Or in the event that the fire is large, they are to immediately contact the fire department. The fire watch generally has a charged fire hose and/or a fire extinguisher, depending on the  potential for catastrophe. In the event of a fire, the fire watch is 100% guaranteed to be ASLEEP. 

6-10s: A work schedule. Six days a week, ten hours. 

6010: a type of welding rod. Smells nice when it burns. Forest-fiery because there’s wood pulp in it. Spatters a lot and shoots little goblets of molten metal on you. Your burning flesh also smells kind of nice too though.

7-12s: A work schedule. Seven days a week, twelve hours. 

7018: Another type of welding rod. This rod has to be kept in a rod oven. A rod oven is a canister that you plug into an electric socket so the wire is heated up. The heat cooks out any contaminates in the wire that are created by moisture. You will never find a rod oven that does has not had a can of french onion soup explode in it. Other kinds of canned lunch that have exploded in the other rod ovens on this job: chili, beef stew, jambalaya. 


8 and Skate (also known as 8 and Out the Gate): normal work day. Eight hours. 7am-3:30pm

PPE: personal perfective equipment; hard hat, ear plugs, steel toe boots, safety harness, work gloves, clear safety glasses, etc. 

Rainbow Safety Glasses: They give you free safety glasses at the safety window. You can get a new pair every day if you want. They are clear and you’ll probably never get anything in your eyes if you wear them. Sometimes the safety department has safety sunglasses. They are also free. They’re just regular black sunglasses but they are safety rated. However, every once a while you will see someone on the job site who has brought in their own rainbow safety sunglasses. This person has paid $16+ bare minimum at some store for badasses. This person will mostly likely have a jet ski and a Rottweiler, and this person doesn’t own any t-shirts that don’t have the sleeves cut off. All hail the mulleted badasss in the rainbow wrap around safety sunglasses. All hail. 

88: this is code for ‘safety’. When the safety man is walking around and might fire someone for not having PPE on, anyone who spots the safety man in the distance like a lion in the wild grass yells, “88”. 

Fire blanket: a tarp made from fiberglass and God knows what else that we put up when we are shooting sparks everywhere when welding, grinding, arc gouging. Fire blanket used to be made from asbestos and guys used to wrap themselves in the asbestos fire blanket as a joke. One guy even made a fake Santa suit on the job and wore the asbestos Santa suit and handed out air plane shots. Ho ho ho! But I think he’s dead now, and I think I wasn’t born yet before fiberglass became the new thing that is slowly eating our lungs out from inside. 

Arc Gouge: this is the opposite of welding. Instead of creation it’s straight ahead destruction. You put a carbon rod in a stinger that also has compressed air moving though it to blow the sparks away from you and when you touch the carbon rod to a piece of metal it pretty much does what a light saber in Star Wars does. Ya know, same sound, flash of fire and electric violence, same screams of pain. It’s pretty cool. The fire watch has to pay particularly close attention when there is arc gouging going on. There is no easier way to create a massive fire than arc gouging. The fire watch however will be asleep. If you can, be sure to aim your sparks away from any sewers or piles of flammable debris. If you can, aim your steady stream of sparks at the fire watch who is sleeping so soundly, drooling even. Burning the fire watch is the most fun part of arc gouging. 
Bucket of Steam: A bucket of steam doesn’t exist but at some point a brand new person with zero hours of experience on a heavy construction site will be sent to the tool room by his/her coworkers to retrieve one. If the person goes and tries to actually get a bucket of steam, they’re laughed at as soon as they leave, then laughed at at the tool room, then really laughed at when they return and finally realize that they’ve been set up. Other things you can be sent to the tool room to retrieve that don’t exist: Reach Around, Grating Super Heater (on a cold day), Sky Hook, etc. 

Come Along: A rigging tool used to pull rather than lift. Helpful for fit up of large steel when welding or connecting. Also helpful if you have a lot of ugly shrubs in your yard because you can wrap the chain around the shrub and you can hook the other end of the come along to the bumper of your car and either you will rip the shrub out or you will rip your bumper off. 

vital chain diagram

Chain fall: A block system for lifting heavy objects. Has a fixed hook you hang overhead and another hook that comes down out of the block. There’s a pull chain and a load chain. Pull on the pull chain and the hook chain goes up, reverse your pull and the hook goes down. Do you remember the movie Die Hard? There’s that part where John MacClane kills the albino german terrorist guy and hooks him on that chain and kicks the terrorist so he goes flying and stays attached to the chain? But later the german terrorist is still alive and comes out of the warehouse, rolling on a beam that’s on a trolley? Okay, well that chain hook thing is a chain fall. You can also steal a chain fall for use around your house, it’s perfect for taking a motor out of your car. Just attach the chain fall to the rafter in your garage and when the motor mount bolts are loose, start pulling on the pull chain so the motor floats easily out of the hood of your car. Look at that! The beauty of mechanical advantage! Just be careful because you will rip down the rafter in your garage and the motor will crash down when the rafter breaks. The motor will wind up going through your windshield. Bohica, baby. 

Load: a load is a person who doesn’t do anything at work. They’re usually on their phone. 

Load (alternate usage 1): the piece you’re going to lift with whatever rigging you’re using … ex. the motor that shattered your windshield was a load. 

Load (alternate usage 2): as in ‘a load on your chin’

Dick Jokes: pretty much the only jokes we have on the job site. 

Cock: Most popular word at work. It’s perpetually 7th grade on a a construction site. 3/4 of all graffiti is a depiction of a penis and a set of huge balls.

Rainout: when its raining out and they send you home with 2 hour show up pay and some of the guys you work with go to the bar down the street and it’s fun to drink at 9am every once in a while. Rain outs can happen at lunchtime or any time really. One time in particular we went to a bar for lunch and the waitresses were wearing bikinis. They weren’t the normal waitresses. The bar had strippers come in special, a once a month thing, the stripper didn’t strip, just served hamburgers and pizza in thong swimsuits. Well, if you’ve ever seen an unhappy waitress, just wait till your waitress is replaced by a stripper serving a bacon cheeseburger at 11am on a Thursday in New Jersey, just down the road from Rahway Prison. 

Stiff / Deadwood : These are generally people that won’t help you at work. (see also, load). They just stand there and watch you struggle or they actively find a way to distance themselves from the immediate area of heavy work, rather they search out the lightest work available or they invent it. Of course, you don’t have to be lazy to be a load because the second you’re not working as hard as everyone else, you’re immediately a stiff, or deadwood.

Such as, “Hey you stiff, get off your fucking phone and come help carry this.”
Or, “Yo, load, this is more important than your Twitter followers, lets go.”

Deadwood is also a type of layoff. Let’s say there are fifty guys on the job and suddenly there’s only enough work for 40, so then there’s a deadwood layoff when all the stiffs and loads get layoff checks and go on unemployment for awhile, where they will get paid almost the same amount of money you make, while they sit at home on their phones looking at Twitter, watching Die Hard, going to the bar for each meal.

BOHICA: Short for Bend Over Here It Comes Again. 
This is like when you’re working on something and you hear a rumor, “We’re working 6-10s I heard.’And then you hear ‘it’s gonna be 7-12s …’
Then you hear ’16 hour shifts … no nightshift …’
Then finally ‘Oh shit, we’ve gotta stay on this until all the welding is done. They want to start this unit up tonight.”
After each of these phrases Bohica is muttered as kind of like a punctuation mark.

FUBAR: fucked up beyond all recognition. 

It Is What It Is: This is a zen buddhist philosophy all in its own. It’s raining and you have to stay and work in the rain? “It is what it is.” It’s raining and they are sending you home? “It is what it is.” Your crew did the job wrong and four shifts worth of work were pointless and all need to be redone? “It is what it is.” You got so drunk last night that you woke up at 11am and didn’t get a chance to even call out and just pretend to be sick with the flu? “It is what it is.”

Here is an illustration of the zen Budhist construction term “It Is What It Is” in case you cannot visualize it:

is what it is

Bud Smith

Wrote: F250, Tollbooth, Calm Face, Dust Bunny City, among others. Lives in Jersey City, NJ. Works heavy construction. www.budsmithwrites.com

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About The Author

Bud Smith

Wrote: F250, Tollbooth, Calm Face, Dust Bunny City, among others. Lives in Jersey City, NJ. Works heavy construction. www.budsmithwrites.com

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