Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Running With Scissors... And Other Fun Stuff

Some Tuesday soon, hopefully, this space will contain a nice, fancy, colourful, link to the Daily Record website where humourous stories will have you laughing so much during breakfast that corn flakes will shoot, unrestrained, from your nostrils. And then you can turn the page and read my column. Until then, the main weekly article will appear here in all it’s unedited glory.

There’s only so much time you can spend gallivanting round the world or watching daytime television. Sooner or later a hefty credit card bill or an even heftier clip round the ear from your mother is going to make you realise you can’t avoid the real world forever.

So last week, after a month of cooking up CVs, submitting applications, enduring interviews, fielding offers and signing contracts, I got myself one of those “proper job” thingys. It comes with a desk and a chair and a fancy mobile phone I barely know how to switch on and by next week I’ll be a regular at the water cooler with the girls talking about Big Brother or moisturiser or some such thing.

But my high-flying corporate career almost came to a swift and shuddering halt when I received a disturbing piece of correspondence from my new employers just before commencing. In amongst the welcome letter and the staff guidance notes was a frightening little booklet entitled “Care In The Office” produced by The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents. By the time my sweaty, shaking hands reached the final page, I was yearning to return to the delightful comforts of the Cambodian jungle or the palatial refuge of the Australian outback.

Did you know, for example, that every year over 5,000 serious injuries are sustained by office staff? And that’s only the injuries which keep people off work for more than three days. Minor ailments such as putting a staple through your thumb (an act which, in the past, I’ve often considered doing for fun in the middle of long, pointless meetings) don’t count.

Having grabbed my attention with the terrifying statistics, the booklet proceeded to break down the likely areas of mortal peril to be avoided in the office. Furniture and fittings seem to be a particularly lethal combination. Overloaded and sharp edged filing cabinets lurk round every corner just waiting to pounce. Badly placed electrical appliances result in trailing cables poised to reach out and grab your ankles like some deadly, creeping ivy.

Unsurprisingly, falls and collisions are the most common form of office accident. More surprising is the fact that those occurring on a level surface are almost as numerous as those on stairs.

“Untidiness can contribute to a great many accidents,” warns the booklet in a scowling school teacher accent. “Put waste paper in the bin; don’t throw it – you are sure to miss!”

“Not if you were a member of the 1980 high school basketball team that reached the semi-finals of the Scottish Cup,” I growled under my breath so the booklet wouldn’t hear.

Helpful advice and warnings comes thick and fast. “Reading whilst using the stairs is dangerous,” says the booklet in a matter-of-fact kind of way. “Knives, scissors and guillotines are all capable of inflicting painful injuries,” it continues and goes on to caution that “razor blades and pins are not suitable for office use.” It even alerts you to the fact that in this age of casual business dress “loose fitting items could be hazardous near office machines” immediately rendering useless my spanking new wardrobe of pinstriped kaftans.

The booklet’s most serious tone is saved for the final chapter though where it berates that “horseplay” and “skylarking” are dangerous activities as well as being offences under the Health and Safety at Work Act.” It didn’t go on to illuminate whether running, shouting, dive bombing and heavy petting are also included in this list of shenanigans but I think it best to refrain for now.

Meantime, I’m all stocked up with plasters and bandages and if I make it through the gauntlet of hazards to the water cooler, I’ll relay all the Big Brother gossip next week.


At 3/8/05 7:47 pm, Blogger carl said...

It's a terrible thingy that you've ended up going to work in a razor-blade and pin factory, than isn't it?

At 3/8/05 7:58 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 3/8/05 8:03 pm, Blogger Beaver said...

Congrats on the job ! Watch out for the lethal stapler :)

At 3/8/05 10:19 pm, Blogger Grant said...

Sheer Genius your writing. Hats off. Bottoms up and other such nonsense.
Thanks for the laughs.
Wishing you much well,

At 4/8/05 12:08 pm, Blogger DC said...


Just back from Turkey - you've been particulary prolific the past couple of weeks - nice one.I'm catching up on the important stuff- unpacking & sorting out bills, washing, etc can keep for a while.
I nearly brought you back some smokes but the Turks don't sell anything like Silk Cut or anything "light "- also they were laughing at the " Blue Scottish Guy" quite enough thank you very much - I'm almost white now - result !

Health & Safety tip - don't wear high heels on wet tiles .



At 6/8/05 4:38 pm, Blogger The Other Half said...

that was great...watch out for the phone on your desk...i can attest to a black eye from that one...

At 9/8/05 8:14 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I got an hilarious aul laugh ourrih dat.As if my workmates dint think i was mad enough already! Lessee....Em, nope, no news really, other then i live in a hobbits´cave in barcelona, where you have to sit on the toilet to take a shower. I shit you not!wet toilet paper is not my idea of fun.And there are witches living upstairs. And the streetcleaners think i´m a prostitute cos i come home at all hours (i´m doing shift work, and no nasty jokes please)xxxsai


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