What’s the worst thing you’ve done at work? Apart from destroying the toilets, that is
From completely destroying a workplace toilet to acts of petty revenge and the unfortunate outcome of a misguided good turn, British employees have revealed the very worst thing they’ve done in their place of work.
A UK-based workplace health and safety law consultancy has collected these tales of misfortune and woe, and present them with the full consent of their anonymous tellers.
According to the Protecting.co.uk company, they represent how easily an innocent day in the office, building site or shop can end up with serious – if sometimes hilarious – consequences.
“We expected one or two funny tales from the workplace, but we didn’t expect such a deluge,” says Protecting.co.uk spokesperson Mark Hall, “It turns out everybody’s got a tale to tell or a confession to make about how their working day went wrong.”
Protecting.co.uk couldn’t pick a top ten, so here’s eleven of the best – or worst – of work disasters:
- I put the wrong thing in the wrong hole of our office’s ancient photocopier, set fire to it along with three years of sales documentation.
- We made an air-powered gun from the compressed-air feed we had in the workshop. It blew a steel bolt through two brick walls. I no longer work in the defence industries.
- In a daze, I missed the “out of order” sign on the toilet door, did my business, flushed and covered the plumber with a poonami. Sorry, Mr Plumber.
- Driven by boredom, we got into a series of ever more dangerous dares in our office, until I encouraged a colleague to slide down the fire escape stairs on a tray from the canteen. He broke his leg.
- Shamefully, we had a bit of “banter” going in the office, and we’d do childish things like embed big, long pins in our colleagues’ chairs, and put exploding caps under the phone. All well and good until the big boss nipped in to sit at a desk to make a quick phone call. I got transferred to accounts.
- Working in a supermarket, I trapped a colleague I didn’t like at the back of the stock room for five hours by parking about a ton of sugar on pallets so they couldn’t get out. I admit I forgot about him until it was time to go home. He weed himself.
- Computer worker. I typed N to a Y/N question on the biggest, most important file in the system, and wiped it. It took three weeks to get everything back again.
- This is really stupid when I think back. I used to sleep in the office, under my desk about three times a week. It got to the point that one night I thought nothing of inviting a chap from the pub who said he had nowhere else to go to do the same. Of course, he robbed a load of laptops and some cash. I still don’t know how I never took the blame.
- I used to be a milkman. One morning, somebody challenged me to a race against my milk float, and of course I crashed it. Milk everywhere.
- Emailed a picture of my dog licking his own bum to All Staff instead of a mate called Allan. You can see how that happens, can’t you? Nothing happened except a stern all-staff memo about the abuse of the email system a few days later. Dodged a bullet, I think.
- Digger driver here. I’m the guy who accidentally backed into a building site portaloo when there was somebody inside. Their tanks don’t half hold a lot, I can tell you for nothing.
While some of these dented nothing but the pride of the teller, others represent huge lapses of security and workplace health and safety, Protecting.co.uk says.
“At the risk of coming across a bit po-faced, one or two of these tales could easily have been averted if proper procedures had been in place,” says Hall.
“Who invites complete strangers from the pub back to sleep in the office?”
That being said, others show a sense of humour among employees that’s vital for good staff relations.
“Keep doing the funny stuff, British workers,” Says Hall, “Heaven knows we’d be miserable without you.”