Blowing a fuse.

I need to rant. Badly. So badly that I am going to break my rule about not blogging about work. It makes me nervous though. I’m terrified of anyone finding this blog. I like my work place. I really do.

I work at an academic institution. A very good one. You would think at these institutions that at least vaguely intelligent people tend to congregate, but apparently not.

I have worked in a lab for many years now. When I am not sure if something is toxic, I was always told to ask, or look it up in the safety manual, or freaking google it for crying out loud. The best bet is ask someone. If it is a dangerous chemical or bacterium or a task involving breaking glass, then I wear safety glasses. You know, those perspex type goggles you see on TV?

Once I was working with dried plants. I admit it didn’t occur to me to wear my glasses because it seemed a harmless task, and I got a piece of plant in my eye and it scratched my eye for days on end.

Did I sue anyone? No. Why the hell would I? It is my call as to whether I wear the glasses or not, or to ask someone if I should. I can’t have a freaking nanny surgically attached to my arm who should tell me when to wear glasses.

There have been a few accidents in our academic institution as a whole where some people who were using infectious bacteria did not wear their glasses, and then squirted their eyes and got a horrendous infection. But instead of making them sign an indemnity form, or, I don’t know, letting evolution take its course, the authorities have decided that everyone who works in a lab of any sort must now wear their safety glasses at ALL TIMES. Which for me means: the entire day.

There were perhaps 5 minutes per day when I used to need my safety glasses. But now: If I am watering my plants – safety glasses. If I am washing my hands – safety glasses. If I am sitting at my desk, writing in my lab book – safety glasses. Pens are frikking dangerous you know. My computer is in the lab. Guess what? I have to wear my safety glasses when I work on the computer. Seriously.

Then there is the problem of the actual glasses. I don’t wear normal glasses, but I am slightly long sighted and will probably have to get some in the future. When I wear my safety glasses, after about 15 minutes my sight goes blurry and I get a headache. By the end of the day I can’t see and my eyes ache so I can’t sleep well.

Everyone who wears normal glasses has to go for an eye test (at the institution’s expense) and get custom made prescription safety glasses (at the institution’s expense). What is this insanity? Can you imagine how much this will cost?

Common sense. Wave your fond goodbyes. Something tells me that it’s a trait that will die out after my generation.


15 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. tiah
    Jul 01, 2010 @ 07:58:58

    You live in England, don’t you? Yes, I believe you do. I suppose if enough people are upset then start having an optometrist and doctors begin to document your complaints of the negative health consequences of wearing them for activities they are not suited for.


  2. Po
    Jul 01, 2010 @ 08:49:01

    Tiah: if my eyes get sore I will have to get prescription glasses made, but for me the biggest health issue is the madness, the madness of it all!!! I suppose I should see it as funny. But really I just think it’s scary.


  3. Damaria Senne
    Jul 01, 2010 @ 09:17:16

    I could practically feel the frustration vibrating through this page. Common sense is a valuable thing to have. It would be helpful of whomever set the new policy acquinted himself/herself with it:-)


  4. Midnitegem
    Jul 01, 2010 @ 15:39:17

    LOL – welcome to Health and Safety!!! there is no end to this madness in sight. It will continue and probably get worse. you should see what I have to plan into office design to cater for all the seemingly stupid people out there.


  5. Shannon
    Jul 01, 2010 @ 17:42:11

    This reminds me of the lady here in the US who sued McDonalds because she bought coffee in the drive-thru lane, then proceeded to put it between her legs and spilled it in her lap while she was driving. She sued McDonalds because–wait for it–their coffee is hot. AND WON. Which says as much about our justice system as it does her own idiocy, although I suppose she did get a jury of her peers.

    Now McDonalds has lukewarm coffee or they have cups printed that say “Caution: the beverage you are about to consume is hot.”

    Rank idiocy. Let’s just weed out the shallow end of the gene pool.


  6. Po
    Jul 01, 2010 @ 19:09:18

    Haha Shannon don’t worry it is EXACTLY the same here. I worked at a coffee chop for a while. Of course it said the caution message on the cup cover but we had to say to every single customer as well, “be careful, your drink is very hot.”



  7. Po
    Jul 01, 2010 @ 19:10:31

    Meh. Day one of full safety glass wearing and the joke is already wearing thin.

    I am thinking of pimping my safety glasses. Any suggestions?


  8. Lady Fi
    Jul 01, 2010 @ 21:34:40

    Gah! Don’t worry, common sense will soon prevail again and people won’t wear them all the time! Do you have to wear them in the loo too?


  9. Po
    Jul 01, 2010 @ 22:08:50

    LadyFi: haha not yet, but we should, anything could happen in there! ACtually, now that I wear them all the time, it wouldn’t surprise me if I forgot to take them off in there.


  10. Tamara
    Jul 02, 2010 @ 10:53:50

    I vote for glitter glue, rhinestones and feathers. If you have to wear them, you might as well bring some carnival in ;-)


  11. Po
    Jul 02, 2010 @ 11:21:17

    Tamara: I’m looking for joke eyes on stalks :) I can’t find any though. The glitter and rhinestones is easier.


  12. sleepyjane
    Jul 04, 2010 @ 20:33:20

    Aw! :( That totally sucks. And it IS scary, that common sense isn’t something everyone just has anymore. I mean…what happened?!

    Did you pimp the glasses yet? :)


  13. Helen
    Jul 05, 2010 @ 13:04:05

    I remember chemistry labs where we had to wear them even when working with (I’m serious) WATER. Zoologists are prett lalzy, we don’t even wear lab coats unless we’re forced (or if the dead thing we’re cutting up is particularly squirty, even then i have a tendency to not wear one and just wipe my hands on the nearest undergrad.) They’re awful though, I slwyas found them really hard to see through without getting a aheadache and they would fog up and if you bent over your notebook (to be able to see it) they would fall off and the safety officer woould yell…

    Back on topic: we have similar silliness here, where a student squeezed a test-tube and broke it and sued. Unless you’re qualiified you can’t even put a bandaid on a student – you can unwrap one and put it next to them but that’s it. We have to make safety announcements whenever the kiddies use sharp things (like blades or dissecting needles) just in case they don’t realise that they might be dangerous.

    It’s actually sad to think of what the next generation will be like. Will we have to start putting labels on food “warning, this product requires chewing”?


  14. Po
    Jul 05, 2010 @ 13:08:37

    Helen: “product requires chewing” hahaha oh dear yes. We will need the government to do the chewing for us. Or we will make a machine to do it. I’m the thinking the future humans will be like in the movie Wall-e. Horrors :)


  15. Po
    Jul 05, 2010 @ 13:16:32

    sleepyjane: noooo not yet. I want to buy some mr potato head eyes to put on top, so it looks like I am trying to see over them.


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