In my previous blog post titled “Jobs, Employment, And Working In Dickinson, North Dakota”, I explained that local people from Dickinson are hostile, mean, malicious, and hateful to their non-local co-workers. I wrote some pretty harsh things in that blog post, but I stand by what I wrote, and I believe that what I wrote was truthful, honest, and accurate. Readers are probably wondering, where do I come up with this, how did I come to this conclusion? I will give one, recent example.
I agreed to do a job recently. I was not given a very accurate job description, or any kind of warning. I don’t think that there was any ill-intention in this, the people giving me the information did not know.
I had to drive about an hour from Dickinson to get to the job location. My job, was to climb up to a two foot wide platform, to work by myself, and to be just one part of the overall work operation.
There were three significant problems with this job: There was the requirement and expectation that I would be up on the platform, standing, for 15 hours; It was extremely cold and windy; There was not a railing on one side of the platform, and if I fell off this side, I would certainly die.
My thoughts were, “This is bullshit, this is fucked up.” I had worked at heights before, I had worked at dangerous jobs before, I had worked in the cold and wind before, but not for 15 hours straight.
According to OSHA, when you are working at heights like this, where you can fall to your death, it is required that there be a continuous railing of 42″ in height, or you are tied off with a safety harness and lanyard. There was no railing on one side, just steel that came up to knee height. The company did not have, offer, or want the person on the platform wearing a safety harness and lanyard. I have two safety harnesses, but I didn’t know that I would need to bring one, and I realized that they wouldn’t like me wearing one.
In this company’s and its employees’ “ignorance”, they just didn’t care to have a railing on one side of the platform, or have a safety harness for the person on the platform. Their opinion was, “What, just don’t fall off.” I asked what happened to the person who used to have this job before me, and they said they didn’t know what happened to him, he just didn’t come back.
It was very cold and windy on the elevated platform. I was wearing thermal underwear, FR pants, heavy hooded FR sweatshirt, heavy hooded winter jacket, and work gloves. After a couple of hours on the platform, I kept getting colder and colder. I had to climb down quickly, run to my vehicle, put on a second heavy winter jacket, run back, and quickly climb back up to the platform. I made it back up on top of the platform, just in time to do my part of the work process and not create a delay for everyone.
All day long, my hands were cold, my feet were cold, and I was generally cold. After about eight more hours, I had to climb down again, run, get a third winter jacket to tie around my waste, run, and climb back up the platform, just in time to do my part of the work process.
When it got dark at 6:00 p.m., I couldn’t see anything. I had to quickly climb down, and run to my vehicle to get a flashlight. This time, I just drove my vehicle over, and parked it next to a small tanker truck and other parked equipment.
During the day when I had to urinate, I would quickly climb down and urinate beside the parked equipment. At night, after it was dark, I would just urinate off the platform. If I had had to poop, I could not have run to the portable toilet and turned around and run back in time, let alone go in and sit down.
We worked until 9:30 p.m. that night. The longer that I worked, and the more tired that I became, the more careless, unworried, and not paying attention I became, plus it became dark. That is when I caught myself a few times almost falling off the one side of the platform without a railing.
After stopping on the drive home to get fuel in my vehicle, and going to the drive thru at McDonalds, it was approximately 11:15 p.m. when I got home. I slept for five hours, and then I had to get up and drive back to the job site by 6:00 a.m.
Do you think that I was looking forward to standing on that platform for another day from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., for 15 hours? In the cold and the wind. Where tripping, losing your balance, or not paying attention will result in you falling to your death. I never planned on working or living like this. This is not normal.
After several days of working like this, my local co-workers and work supervisor from Dickinson were not very nice or friendly to me. It was hard to do this job, and I did not delay the work once. It was like my work supervisor had a dislike and resentment for me. Even though I showed up on time, did my job all day long without complaining to anyone, didn’t get hurt, didn’t make a mistake, didn’t cause any kind of delay, my local Dickinson co-workers and local Dickinson work supervisor were determined to dislike me. They were just thinking and thinking, and hoping to be able to find fault with something I was doing, so that they could complain.