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No Time For Health And Safety

Dec 5, 2007
Getting out of bed this morning wasn't so easy!

The sciaticas kicking in again - must be the weather.

I make it to the bathroom to apply the heat spray to my back and insert my eye drops. It doesn't matter how much I sleep they still appear rough in the morning. Eye bags that look more like suitcases - not the most attractive look. I can't get the eye drops in today. Something to do with the angle of the wrist and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome - whatever that is. So I shout for the wife to help. Then I shout at her for missing my eye with the drops.

Maybe its just stress. Maybe I'll take a few days off work. Maybe that way I'll avoid the Health and Safety Training Seminar - boring stuff anyway.

Well, that didn't help. Two days laying in bed, boss ringing constantly and I'm still stressed. But the wife's complaining at my malingering and the bills need paying so after the usual morning ritual of sprays, creams, lotions, potions and drops, Im ready for a day at the office.

I settle down at my desk, if you can call it settling. My chair has seen better days and tends to list to one side but I can rectify that by propping myself on the desk with one elbow - at least I would if it wasn't for the tennis elbow so I'll just put up with it for now.

My boss is making some noise about the Health and Safety Training again! Apparently I can now do it on line. Something called Health & Safety E-Learning. With two days work to catch up on its not like I have the time.

Flicking on my computer the VDU comes alive with glaring brilliance and my eyes immediately start itching. Maybe I should see an optician. I have some notes that I made while I was 'resting' at home over the last few days but trying to view them from my usual note pad position on the desk and working on the computer at the same time is giving me a crick in my neck. Repetitive Strain Injury according to the doctor but what does he know?

I resign myself to what's probably going to be a long day, followed by a late night, and begin to open up my emails. Vaguely aware of my colleagues occasionally wandering around the office I'm becoming aware of a nagging resentment that they actually have the time for that. They'll be socialising next! Before I know it, its 5 o'clock. I haven't moved from this desk or eaten for 8 hours but time for that later.

At 7.30pm I finally stop for a toilet break and grab a quick coffee from the machine to keep me going a little longer. Back at my desk another email pops up, this time from the bosses home address! How weird, I think! Immediately I click to open it and it appears to be an admonition. Of all the cheek, I think, its me thats sitting here alone in the office when I should be at home with my family, not him.

Taking a few deep breaths, not easy when I'm hunched over this desk with no fresh air, I read on. Just as my boss suspects I have ignored all emails regarding the Health & Safety E-Learning business. This is a push from him to check it out. Planning to take a look when I get home, I take a note of the address, pop it in my briefcase and close down my computer. Standing up, there is nothing on my body that doesn't actually hurt. Must be my age.

On the way home, I'm mentally planning what I have to do at work the next day. At least the wife will be happy. I'm actually going to be home earlier than normal today. That's when a sick feeling comes over me. Theres something I've forgotten but can't quite put my finger on it.

I walk in the door to find an empty house and a note from my wife saying she's at her mothers and my dinner is in the dog when it hits me. Today was our wedding anniversary and I had promised to be home at a reasonable time. The table is set for a romantic meal and I've given all my thoughts to work!

Despondently, I sit down and take out my laptop. Nothing else to do but check out the website sent from my boss. Great - I've passed up on a romantic evening with my wife and swapped it for an evening of Health & Safety. Wahoo!

However, all is not lost. This truly is an eye opener! From the bad back, itchy eyes and painful joints through to the lack of work/life balance that has led me here tonight I find the reasons behind it all and the solution. Apparently, I have brought all these ailments on myself. When I thought I was doing the right thing by throwing myself into work I was doing it all the wrong way and the whole thing was becoming counter-productive.

I feel less stressed already knowing this situation will not go on. Waking a little more refreshed than usual the next morning, I turn into work with a view to correcting so much.

Taking an hour each day out of my work schedule, I am able to implement all the Health & Safety Risk Assessments suggested and gradually over time my ailments are reducing. My wife, and my life, is happier. My work/life balance has been restored. I am actually getting more done, in less time, and getting to realise that my colleagues, that I hardly knew before, are actually quite a nice bunch!
About the Author
Computer expert Shaun Parker shows what can happen if Health and Safety Training is ignored. To find out more please visit http://www.complywise.co.uk/
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