Day 11 – Welcome to moronia

11 02 2010

We worship two gods, health and safety

I finally got round to taking my Health and Safety Executive, Slips and Trips e-learning package today. There were three versions, increasing in time and complexity. To save me, but mostly you, the pain I opted for the ‘basic’ option.

Now I don’t mean to demean anyone who has experienced an accident at work, nor do I want to cast aspersions as to the sort of person who suffers a workplace accident, but christ on a bike this was built for morons. First off there were a series of ‘shocking’ images of terrified people falling over in a variety of target audience style locations. In a kitchen, a factory floor, a warehouse and so on. The message seemed to be very clear. Disobey rules = pain and suffering. No hint of the upside there then.

The shots of people falling over were poorly photoshopped into the scene (I don’t for one minute think the HSE would allow anyone to actually fall over). It gave them all a sort of bizarre matrix look, as if Lee the warehouseman or Wen Lu the stores assistant was about to stop bullets and throw down kick ass Jiu Jitsu moves on their hapless colleagues. Then I was treated to a selection of real life case studies like a woman who slipped on shampoo that shouldn’t have been there. (That was actually quite sad, maybe I should stop taking the piss) Anyway the whole first section seemed to be intent on striking the fear of god into you.

Then there came a series of instructional videos and illustrations. They were often ludicrously over the top – a man on the phone carrying a tray down the stairs and about to step into a puddle of water, raw electrical flex dangling ominously nearby… you get the picture. After that I had to answer a series of questions and learned amongst other things that I should protect myself and other workers from ‘unexpected noises’ [insert preferred crude gag here].

After completing the course I was urged to contact my supervisor to obtain a certificate. Excited as I was by the prospect of adding that to my Dorset Fire Safety Youth Quiz trophy, I think I’ll give it a miss. It really made me understand why health and safety gets such a hard time. Most of the rules and guidelines they produce are so far removed from reality that they have no bearing on anything a normal person would understand. I can’t help but think that’s counter-intuitive. People are going to willfully ignore the rules because they are so utterly stupid. It really feels like they are putting them there so they can go home at the end of the day and say, ‘there we go, we did something’.

By the way, if you fancy scaring a friend, take the test and scroll through to a picture of Rob, a commis chef who fell and plunged his arm into a deep fat fryer – gruesome.

Stats:

Weight 14st 0lb

Body fat 19.8%

Frustration – 4

Infractions – 6.5 (2 suspended)

Wellbeing – 7

New rules today:

  • Take the CO2 calculator from Act on CO2
  • Become one of the office’s required first aiders
  • Mop up spills correctly
  • Protect colleagues from unexpected noise
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