Thursday, July 27, 2006

Protect me from myself (and the Spree)

As a member of a large corporation, I am often a slave to many bureaucratic processes instigated as part of a health and safety plan. Usually I comply no matter how ridiculous it is – for example, taking an online course on how to use a telephone headset when I do not use a telephone headset.

Other times I can’t help but lash out, particularly when we have an evacuation drill and our wardens assemble us near the exit and don’t let us out for 20 minutes. In real emergencies, such a delay could be the difference between life and death, yet no one seems to care as long as no one enters the stairwell in high heels or carrying an umbrella.

We could all die, who cares if I twist an ankle? The only purpose for assembling at the exit is so all our bodies are in the one place when we die from smoke inhalation while waiting to get the hell out of the burning building.

We also have an extensive register of chemical products to keep us safe. In the past this led to an eradication of Liquid Paper and glue sticks because it was feared people would eat them. We were also told not to have hand cream, perfume or other “personal chemicals” on our desks because other people may not know what they’re for and use them inappropriately – or eat them. Who on earth rummages about other people’s desks looking for something to eat? Since when have foodstuffs and condiments come in wind up sticks and little bottles with brushes in the lid?

Which brings me to today and the chemical register sign I read in the kitchen while heating up my lunch (no, not a tube of UHU and a dab of Nivea Hand Relief, too many carbs). The sign contains all the pertinent safety information for the one brand of dish detergent we’re allowed to use. By the way, it’s the cheapest and least effective detergent and really harsh on the hands but no one seems to care about that.

Among other things, the sign says:

  • This chemical is suitable for use provided the user obtains adequate training in the use of the product.

  • Prevent access to drains, sewers and waterways.

  • Protective eyewear should be worn when using this product.

  • Normal hygiene measures, i.e. washing hands, should be employed after using the product.
Let me remind you this is dishwashing detergent. It’s meant to be washed down drains and people sometimes even use it to wash their hands. It’s also dead easy to use: lift cap, squeeze onto damp sponge and off you go. What more training would a normal (and that’s the key word here, nor-mal) person need and what on earth is the protective eyewear for?


Dan said...

Thats it isn't it PJ, you have totally plateued out, gone off the deep end, lost the plot.
I dont blame you, I often wondered what training you might require to use detergent?

Kallie said...

Hmm, is it just your workplace PJ or all of Melbourne in general is going so overboard? I think I'm glad I left :)

HAD said...

somebody in your place of work has too much time on their hands...I know that they have these things enforced in the health system (maybe not the umbrellas and high heels) my daughters school, they have banned liquid paper and the sort...cause it can injure someone...but I think this is carrying the public liability thing just a tad too far.