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As it's European Week for Safety & Health at work, here's a health & safety poser for you...My kettle’s been acting erratically for the past week. Normally, I switch it on and a light glows in the switch itself. Once the kettle’s boiled, the switch flicks itself up and the light goes out. For the past week the electricity’s not been getting through consistently. The light – and electricity – have been going on and off pre-boil. I haven’t had time to buy a kettle so have resorted to keep flicking the switch up and down, holding it down when it’s working to keep it working and also manoeuvring the kettle on its base to try for a better connection. All this is dangerous yet I’ve continued.
This morning the operation had taken more than 20 minutes and, thinking the thing had broken completely I fetched the piano stool and – standing on it with knees braced against the cupboard, I reached up to the top of a kitchen wall unit to grab my filter coffee maker (unused for years) with the aim of filtering boiling water into a jug. That’s dangerous too.
Last week we carried an item about the Ladder Association’s training scheme (you can refresh your memory by looking in the side column today) and in visiting the website to see the latest ‘Idiots on Ladders’ photo’s, I was amazed at the risks some people will create, to get the job done. With some of them though, I thought: “I’ve done that” or even: “I’d do that” (despite it having been deemed dangerous by those who’d taken and posted the photo).
So what is it? Are those of us who take risks (generally having assessed them) both at home and whilst going about our paid employment lazy, stupid or in too much of a hurry to play it safe? Are we perhaps living in a mollycoddling age in which we’re discouraged from taking any risks at all, however slight - and as a result are ‘over the top’? Or are we perhaps even seeking that frisson of excitement by taking a risk and not coming to any harm?
Please get back to me with your thoughts – even if it’s to call me an idiot! And yes. Come Saturday I’m off to buy a new kettle. But whether that’s because what I’m doing to achieve my morning coffee is dangerous, or because I’m having to wait too long for a drink, I’m afraid I can’t tell you…
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24th October 2013