Thursday 8 December 2011

Silly Campaigns (Part Two) - Health and Common Sense

I am certain that at some point in my life I have eaten dirt.

Obviously I was a child at the time – it’s not something I do now – at least not knowingly.

To be honest, I’m surprised that there hasn’t  been a TV campaign urging me NOT to eat dirt. There are TV campaigns to stop me doing everything else that might harm me.

I am not a stupid person, despite being portrayed as such by the media and health and safety experts.  They are not just picking on me, dear reader – they are picking on you too.

We see it every day from crazy health and safety rules and regulations to the news throwing all manner of scare tactics our way.

I’ve told you about a sign in our toilets at work that urges you to wash your hands after using the loo, together with pictures showing you exactly what to do; but that is just the tip of the iceberg.

We have a near miss register – a list of potential issues that could have happened, didn’t and need to be addressed. A person is assigned to each near miss and then action is taken. And it is hilarious reading.

Here are a few examples (I am not making them up):

The condition of the road was very icy and no grit had been put on the road. I approached the barrier very slowly but despite this found I could not stop the car, the car slid slowly toward the barrier and the security guard then came out slowly and lifted the barrier very slowly. I nearly crashed into the barrier.

Walked into kitchen and foot slipped significantly on the floor. It has been recently mopped by the cleaners but they have not put out a wet floor sign and have used a high concentration of multi-purpose fluid in their mop bucket mixture making it very slippery

From where I sit in the office I regularly see near misses where people are rushing out of the kitchen and turning right towards the HR offices with hot drinks and meet someone walking the other way towards my teams area. I think its only a matter of time before someone gets hurt.

Faeces and nose pickings on walls of cubicles of toilets in the offices where staff are working. Reported on 28/11/2006. 29/11/2006 - Reported again: cleaners had not identified and cleaned off. On 30/11/2006, cleaners had still not cleaned the toilets, so reported again, who did get the cubicles cleaned properly after a site visit. To be covered again, at fortnightly H&S meetings on the office facility.

Unwashed Tea Towel has been left for a period of time. This is filthy and I believe may pose a threat to health if used either for drying utensils or use on hands. There are no hand drying facilities in the kitchen. It may sound insignificant but there is a lot of publicity with regards to kitchen germs.

One of the decorative panels behind the urinals fell off. Nobody was using the toilets at the time.

It is worse at some places. Today a work colleague was telling me about his friend who works at another company and has to put up with rules like:

All staff must walk down the stairs holding the handrail. Anybody seeing a person not holding the handrail must report that person. Anybody who knows of a person who did not report another person for not holding the handrail must report the person who didn’t report the first person.

This bizarre rule had a comical effect at a conference in a posh building with one of those staircases that widens into a trumpet shape at the bottom; because the staff were on company business they had to adhere to the above crazy rule. Everybody else marched up the middle of the stairs like the adults they are. The staff of this nameless company all had to hold the handrail and stood out like sore thumbs.

And it gets worse – the same company actually give travelling staff a small handbook which contains instructions in different languages for any taxi driver ferrying the staff member. Instruction like:

The taxi driver must not start the car until the staff member has fastened his safety belt. 

The taxi driver must not smoke in the car. 

The taxi driver must wear a seatbelt. 

That would be pointless in China. In Kunming last year, I jumped into the front of a taxi and tried to fasten my seat belt – the driver refused to drive until I unbuckled my seat belt. I then had to suffer a hair-raising trip around the city of Kunming without a seatbelt.

And what was the reason he had shouted at me for fastening my belt? By fastening my belt I was insulting his driving – implying that I considered him to be a terrible and unsafe driver. No little book would have helped me.

We are being treated like idiots dear reader. They won’t let us use our common sense. We can’t even let our kids outside to get dirty in case they catch some revolting disease.

What they forget is that I have built up an immunity to germs and bugs by actually playing in and with dirt – and I have probably eaten some of it too in my life.

Equally, as adults we are being treated as morons who cannot read and have no common sense. I mean – if I didn’t read the signs they put up I would spend my day with my hands under scalding hot water or picking up dog shit with my bare hands and then eating my sandwiches.

This is my new campaign dear reader.

And I have a big name on my side. I don’t like David Cameron, our new Prime Minister, but I have persuaded him to back my desire to eliminate this inane stupidity.

Read it here.

At least he and I agree on something.

Of course the dates indicate that this was two years ago and he doesn’t actually give me the credit I deserve.

But then again he is politician.

Who's with me?


Elephant's Child said...

With you all the way. There is an advertisement here which has me talking at the television every time I see it. The product being sold is a disinfectant hand wash - that senses your hands so you never need to touch the nozzle. Given that it also claims to remove 99% of germs so what if I pick up a few from the last hand washer? And since when does a child need disinfectant every time hand washing is required? Got me on my soap box (pun noted) here. Sorry.

Mind Of Mine said...

I agree with the near misses stuff though, If I have an accident in work and a near miss is in that book, I have a higher chance of suing successfully, as a hazard has been identified and not acted on.

However, I have a weaker case if it was the first instance of such an accident and preventive measures could not have implemented.

Mind Of Mine said...

Oh and P.S, I am told by my Mother that as a toddler, I had a taste for coal.

drb said...

Mr PM,
You are very brave to sit in the front of a china taxi!!! I was specifically warned not to sit in the front unless I have a penchant for Grand Prix car racing.

I think the little company book is to protect the company against any future litigation from emaployees. Recently, a Oz civil servant wanted compensation after hurting herself while having vigirous sex during a business trip (no, sex is not part of her job description):

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi EC,

Health and Safety is important - but in recent years people have gone way over the top - probably for fear of being sued.

And that's the real root of the nonsense I see every day.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi MoM,

Near misses are fine - but a dirty tea towel??? Snot on the walls of a cubicle???

Again people have taken it to the extreme.

mmm - coal!!!!




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi drb,

I know - I've only done it once and it was exactly like a Grand Prix. Taxi drivers the world over are crazy people - but in China they take it to a new level.

I love the story about the vigorous sex, particularly that she suffered a "consequent psychiatric injury".

People are suing because something hurts their feelings - for example a minor car bump in America might cause a lawsuit because although the car was barely scratched, the trauma caused to the driver was irreversible and well worth the $500,000 compensation for mental anguish.







Kath Lockett said...

I'm with you too. After six weeks of doctors in hospitals with Sapphire, EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM splodged their hands with the disinfectant hand cleaner stuff and immediately offered to shake my hand, theirs still damp and sticky..... how is THAT better than dry hands with a bit of Mother Nature still on 'em?

Anji said...

This kind of thing makes me feel so cross. You're talking about grown ups, aren't you?

If they didn't like the dirty tea towel why didn't they take it home and wash it?

I think we learn by our mistakes. If someone tips hot coffee over you you soon learn not to charge through doorways without looking.

We ate dirt when I was a child, the soil was a type of red clay and looked so much like chocolate...

Good post - someone has to say it!

Plastic Mancunian said...

Bonjour Kath,

Urrghh! Sounds revolting. I thought that stuff was supposed to vanish - I've used myself - and I know it takes ages to "soak in".




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Anji,

The tea towel incident was beyond belief. Somebody took the time to write about it rather than doing anything. The remedy? Somebody DID take it away. Why they had to bleat about it in the first place was beyond me.

Glad you agree.




River said...

Don't get me started on staff facilities that aren't properly cleaned. I work for a major supermarket chain, we handle food, lots of food, wrapped, canned, packaged, yes, but some of the fruit and veg is sold loose and the customers do not always choose to put these items in plastic bags available. Think of the consequences when staff members are using grotty facilities, not to mention some of them who do not wash their hands after.......

River said...

Re the hand sanitiser stuff - it doesn't "soak in" it's alcohol based and evaporates off the skin.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi River,

Actually, I knew that it evaporated. I've used it myself.

I agree that cleanliness is good and required but some people will complain rather than doing something themselves.

The tea towel is an incident that highlights this.

Being reminded to wash your hands is OK - being SHOWN what you are supposed to do is ridiculous.

We are adults - not five year olds.




Pandora Behr said...

I'm still getting over the sign on the microwave at work that reads "Food that comes out of the microwave may be hot". Like, derr! I'm with you.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Pand,

That is ridiculous - are people really that stupid?




Bali Travel said...

think of myself in those condition