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Safety day

In Australia, the federal government’s propaganda tends to condescendingly heckle citizens about various issues that are pretty much always best left to the individual’s discretion – not unlike the output from NuLabour’s Ministry of Truth – similar beast, albeit with a more sinister bark. So in Britain you get this (probably one of the more egregious examples), and in Australia, this (ditto).

On balance, the naff Australian stuff is the lesser of two evils, but it is still deeply irritating, patronising bilge. Take the abovementioned ‘understanding money really pays off’ campaign the government is running via billboards and television commercials. Thanks so much for spending my tax money on delivering that sterling piece of advice – let me just make a note of it on my invisible typewriter. The most wasteful entity in society is wasting more of our money by telling us to mind our pennies! That is rich – even if we are not.

Still, it is exactly the sort of hypocritical, wealth-destroying enterprise one would expect the government to embark upon. However, it is pretty depressing when your (private sector) employer gets in on the act. I arrived home today to find the company I work for have decided to post me a brochure titled ‘Safety At Home’. Apparently “every day is Safety Day – think safety 24/7″. It is full of handy tips along the lines of “don’t hold any part of your body over a boiling kettle – steam can be hotter than water” and “read labels before use…take notice of cautions and warnings” and “try not to stick your head in the oven when the gas is on but not lit – unless you feel suicidal. If you feel only slightly suicidal, keep reading this brochure and you will want to get it over and done with in no time at all.” And in the foreword from our CEO:

We have produced this booklet as a reminder of the simple [really, painfully, embarrassingly simple - JW] things that we can all do outside the workplace to make sure we’re thinking safety 24/7 (…) stay safe and keep well.

Where does a nice big steaming hot mug of “fuck the hell off!” flung at your nether regions fit into your Safety at Home recommendations, Mr CEO? And get the hell out of my house while you are at it, you finger-wagging ponce. Shareholders bankroll enough useless expenditure via the taxation system as things are; corporate nannies are not welcome. Give us our money back.

10 comments to Safety day

  • Brad

    1) Perhaps people would take more care of their financial matters if the government weren’t taking the lions share of disposable income.

    2) With health care sky rocketing in the US, and with health coverage now mostly a “benefit” supplied by employers (perhaps as a consequence of WWII when employers didn’t have enough up front money to attract labor so resorted to benefits), and insurance companies pressuring employers to get involved in behaviors of their employees, we have pretty much the same thing as your pamphlet.

  • James,
    Forget about your next raise.
    CEO.

  • James

    Try applying for a boat licence. It’s a libertarian’s nightmare.

    The safety regulations extend to 20 pages (all detailing how you must protect yourself as opposed to other people).

  • Midwesterner

    Good lord, Pommy! Where’s that?

    We have a joke around here (Wisconsin, USA) that the only license you need to drive a boat is a good line of credit. Meaning, if you can buy one, you can drive it.

    I have taught many German visitors to sail and without exception, they all express amazement at the lack of red tape. Apparently operating boats is regulated in Germany well beyond the age/sober requirements we have here.

    I am of the opinion that proof of adequate insurance is all that should be required. Let the insurance companies handle training and authorization of their customers to operate the boats. After all it’s their money if you mess up.

  • Think safety 24/7? Well one good thing. No more of those dreams where I’m faaaalling.

  • darkbhudda

    Our office has been obsessed with safety for years.

    All the pipes are heat insulated and the whole unit has been sealed off so people can only touch the tap part of it, yet there are 3 signs on the hot water urn warning people it is hot.

    People aren’t allowed to wash their hands at the kitchen sink.

    Doors have signs to warn people to be careful opening them.

    They sent out an email last year saying that cyclists must wear high visibility safety vests, bright orange ones, when they ride to work. There was a huge uproar.

    People joke that we must work in the most dangerous office in the world as every week there is some new poster up and lecture on some subject.

    They’ve had ergonomic specialists in to measure everyone and observe how they work then recommend how they sit, where they put their keyboard and monitor etc… Of course I had no problems before that, but now thanks to the ergonomic furniture I now get sore wrists.

    In other companies I know people who have been fired when they are injured so the company’s safety statistics are not affected.

    But what cheeses me off is that the safety focus is often on the wrong things. You can imagine the respect I have for a company that sends out another email ranting about pedestrians not waiting for the green light to cross the road, when that morning on the way to work I had to dodge 2 cars who both made right hand turns without signalling at high speed onto the footpath I was on. I have seen plenty of pedestrians hit by cars and EVERY time they were crossing on the green. It happens all the time on the crossing directly in front of work. Yet they never talk about drivers obeying the road rules.

    Of course, managers never have to follow the rules themselves.

  • Lots of workplaces are safety-obsessed, darkbhudda. But how many managers of workplaces are intruding into the non-work hours of employees and prodding them to be safe at home, too?

  • MidWest

    New South Wales. The safety section of the test you need to pass is here

    It is one of 5 sections that you need to learn and are then tested on before you can receive your licence.

    My mistake – it’s 33 pages not 20.

  • Sam Duncan

    Thing is, James, we get both kinds. I’m just waiting for the Scottish Executive’s booklet on finding one’s arse (“It’s NOT the part of your arm that bends. That’s your elbow. If you’re still having difficulty, try using both hands. If you don’t have two hands, contact your GP or phone NHS24.”). They could really use it themselves.

  • MHG

    I’m still getting over the government circular posted in the kitchen of our new Commonwealth offices with page-length guidance on how to wash our hands. This, for people who are trusted to spend public money.