The rules and regulations of factory work can be somewhat unnecessary for the nature of the work.
When I was consigned as a cleaner for one factory, I turned up to work in shorts. I make a point of this, not because my legs are impressively muscular and lithe – that goes without saying – but because it has been a long hot summer, ladies and gentlemen, we have all felt it and even during the night-shift it can get quite hot; it was a health issue in itself. But health and safety had other designs, so it was, when my supervisor (or so he considered himself) asked if I was ready “for a day at the beach”.
Now, no-one’s making that mistake around here, are they? “Oh yeah Jim, I always remember to bring my steel-toed boots and Henry the Hoover whenever I go catch some rays!” Was what I should’ve said, instead I pointed out the many people on the factory floor who also decided to wear cut-off trouserwear. “Well it’s different rules for factory workers to cleaners.” How’s that exactly? The machines at this factory include blow-torches and industrial magnets. You’re telling me I can do more harm to myself – particularly below the knee – with a mop and bucket than I could if I was blowing flames out of a gas canister. Later I was told that this was, rather unsurprisingly, not company policy – you can see why I questioned the appointment of Jim’s leadership – and that I could wear shorts if I so wished. Well, what do you know Jim?
On another job, I was required to take a health and safety test. Never believing myself above understanding the perils of factory work, I took the requisite very seriously and studied the revision material closely before passing with flying colours. Even after the encouragement of my success, I was still wary of a challenging shift ahead of me – if I had to pass an exam to be here, what duties could I expect? I’ll have to be at the top of my game for this one. I was then given a hard hat, ear defenders, a hairnet, safety goggles, a high visibility jacket and some overalls to cover up the shorts I was wearing again (I don’t try and be difficult; but if you’ve got it, flaunt it!). Feeling ready to take on an army, not just an assembly line, I reported to the foreman to be posted where my newly earned safety qualifications would be best put to use.
I flicked a motion sensor for two hours.