It’s been a quiet few months on the Health and Safety front at my office. Since a not-particularly-memorable memo on the dangers of putting up Christmas decorations, there’s been nothing forthcoming apart from the occasional Trip Hazard sign placed directly in front of the coffee machine, and a few Wet Floor signs placed immediately inside the bathroom doors, where one is certain to trip over them.
Today, however, changed all that. Everyone was buzzing with the missive issuing from the bowels of the building regarding safety on the escalators. For it is well known that these moving stairs are a death trap in motion, ever ready to grasp unsuspecting travellers and slice them to pieces under the floor. (Oh, you didn’t know that? Well, consider yourself educated!) The memo started thus:
Following a couple of recent incidents at the office, please ensure you take extra care when using the escalators and consider the following health and safety advice:
Suddenly, speculation was rife – who befell these fearful fates? How did it happen? Patchy, unreliable friend-of-a-friend-of-a-witness accounts started to come forth about a poor unfortunate soul from HR who came a cropper this week. It must, surely, have been due to her wearing high heels, carrying numerous cups of coffee, peering through thick glasses, and running up the steps while talking to someone behind her. Because more details emerged as this memo unfolded:
– Always face forward and leave one hand available to firmly grip the handrail
– Step on and off with extra care
– Take care if you are wearing bifocals or similar eyewear
– Avoid stacking drinks one on top of the other
– Wear shoes with suitable gripping soles to prevent slips and falls
– Stand clear of the sides of the escalator, keeping loose clothing clear of steps and sides
– Running up or down escalators should be avoided
– Avoid carrying boxes or other larger items on the escalator, consider using the lift
– Step over the comb fingers at the top and bottom of each escalator and avoid letting your feet slide off the end of the escalator
– Immediately move clear of the escalator exit area
Now, don’t get me wrong, this is all really good advice. For a three-year-old. But is this really necessary for working adults? Actually, it may well be, because I’ve been known to prance up the down escalator, taking stairs two at a time. Granted, not while drinking coffee (and never while wearing bifocals! Heavens!).
But henceforth, you’ll never find me standing on the step until the last possible moment, lifting my toes up until they hit ground as the step slip-slides away, then leaning forward onto my toes at just the right moment before toppling forward and walking with the momentum of the escalator. This, surely, is one of life’s little joys, but No! no longer shall I commit such reckless actions willy nilly! Never again will I wear loose clothing, and I shall always have one hand free to hold the rail in case, well, not really sure in case of what, but I’ll be ready for it!
Actually, no, I won’t. I’ll just carry on taking the stairs like a normal non-lazy person.