Tuesday, 17 June 2014

occupational hazards: precarious work

I want to talk a little bit about occupational hazards in the workplace. If you work in an office you might get the dreaded repetitive strain injury in your wrist, your posture might suffer, you'll probably put on weight. If you're a machinist, you might nick your finger. You don't really expect to encouter that many hazards in your job as a housekeeper. Ok, it's very unsanitary and stranger germs are the worst germs, but I look to look on the bright side and see it as an immune system boost.

However, a woman passed out last week and had to go to hospital in an ambulance.

The hotel management had complained that the grouting in the showers was very dirty, and this needed to be rectified by the housekeeping staff scrubbing at it with a bristle brush and...some harsh bleach. I spoke to the woman that passed out, and she said that she began to feel dizzy as soon as she started using it, but was just doing her job. 

On the one hand, I do feel that an adult has a responsibility to their self to not do anything that might unduly be harmful or dangerous, least of all end in a trip to the hospital. On the flip side, surely employers have a duty of care to their staff, to thoroughly examine the items and products they expect staff to use, and ensure things like this are reasonably avoided.

It makes me really sad to think that a company does not care enough for their employees to check the contents of hazardous chemicals before telling staff to use them in confined spaces. It makes me sadder still that employees do not feel empowered enough to speak out about the conditions they are expected to work within.  The doctor told her that, with frequent use, that chemical could harm your vital organs.

Some things are just not worth it.

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