Tradie pranks: Funny or not?
26 July 2017
Tradie pranks: Funny or not?


Everyone loves a great prank, right?

Tradies have been pranking each other for years — especially their apprentices.

But is it funny? Or is it bullying? Or perhaps both?

Take for example, the pretty well known Cement Strongman Prank. Here’s how it rolls...

“Can you lift a bag of cement above your head ten times?” The apprentice eagerly takes on the challenge. Then a workmate sneaks up as they lift the bag above their head and cuts the bag open. The apprentice gets covered in cement.

Kinda funny, but kinda not.

It’s easy to list all the issues with the cement prank - especially if you’re the boss. Wasting time, wasting materials, creating mess; inhaling concrete is probably not too good for health either. And how does that poor apprentice feel? They could take it in their stride and find it as funny as the next guy, or they could feel terrible— they could feel bullied.

But how do you draw the line between bullying and harmless pranks?


Worksafe have some great resources ​ 

Here’s what Worksafe have to say “Bullying at work is repeated and unreasonable behaviour directed towards a worker or a group of workers that can lead to physical or psychological harm.”

So maybe the odd prank is OK?  

Worksafe also say “Businesses and undertakings must effectively deal with bullying at their workplaces”.

So basically, as part of the HSWA you need to ensure your workplace doesn’t have any bullying.

Make sure you read this guide Preventing and Responding to Bullying at Work for PCBUs and checkout the Worksafe website for further info and resources

But we can’t be too serious...

It’s important to have fun at work— everyone loves a good laugh. But it’s equally important to have the culture and procedures in place to make sure everyone feels safe.

Still, I don’t see the harm in putting one these items on the shopping list every now and then when someone has to go for supplies...

  • Tartan paint

  • Spirit level bubbles

  • A long weight

  • A left handed screw-driver

  • A short circuit

  • Elbow grease

  • Bucket of steam

At the end of the day a common sense, empathetic approach should prevail — the best workplaces are those with happy workers, and bullying is not OK.


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