Saturday, May 9, 2009

Workers' hygiene

You have recently received some helpful advice from your employer regarding how to avoid H1N1 (please don't call it "swine," they say) flu. This may have come in the form of a memo reprinting the Homeland Security Memo. You may have wondered, as I did, "why is Homeland Security running this issue, instead of the CDC?" Or maybe you just expect Homeland Security to run every issue.

Mme. Secretary was just addressing her employees -- the ones so often in harm's way abroad. Defending our homeland from.... over there. But if your Company wants to handle its liability the same way, one memo is as good as the next.

In the spirit of good healthy work practices, the DrawingIn room presents

Hygiene for the Worker, 1912

We boil it down (in carbolic) so you don't have to.
Authors: Tolman & Gutherie of the American Museum of Safety. (pause for effect)
Irony points: Adelaide Wood Gutherie. Not that Woody Gutherie, who probably wrote some very catchy tunes about workplace accidents.
Giggle milk through your nose points: General Editor C. Ward Crampton.
seriously? you're not even going to make me work for it, are you?
Audience: "designed for boys and girls from thirteen to eighteen years of age, for special classes preparing to pass examinations for labor certificates, and for vocational, industrial, and manual training high schools."

When your teenager won't get off his ass to put a dish in a sink, this is a good photo to hang on the fridge.

Add this caption from our text, " If he has finished the elementary school course, he will be able to meet most of the demands of ordinary business life. If he is fortunate enough to have completed a high school training, he will find that he possesses an equipment that will overcome many an obstacle in the way of success."

No miner boy, me. I gots me degree.

There are 19 chapters (the last of which is Tuberculosis). I treat you to these unaltered illustrations and quotations. Cross-stitch at will.

"If the person I want for this job is clean and neat and self-reliant, I may be sure that his morals and methods of work are equally clean and straightforward."

"We all prefer those friends who are cheerful and amiable. Isn't it just as probable that an employer will pick out the pleasant-faced, cheerful boy or girl to work for him, in preference to one whose expression is sour and gloomy and whose manner is short and surly ?"

"If you have any trouble in the nasal passages, a physician will tell you how to use a nasal douche."

"So it is well, if you cannot sleep out of doors, to have plenty of fresh air circulating through your room at night."

"...the Pennsylvania Railroad will no longer pay damages to any one injured in getting on or off their trains, if it is proved that high-heeled shoes or tightly fitting skirts were responsible for the injuries received."

"It is because milk is unclean and full of germs or has been
spoiled by standing or given in unclean nursing bottles, that
so many babies are made ill."

This problem of the coffee cups is older than first thought.

"It is believed that the largest number of accidents in shops and mills takes place on Monday, because the alcohol that is drunk on Sunday takes away the skill and attentive care of the workman."

"Many employers make the mistake of crowding too many workers into a small space...If you know such conditions to exist in a factory, avoid working there, and do not sacrifice your health and possibly your life. The factory laws of New York allow 250 cubic feet of air space to each worker."

"The children of parents who work very hard in certain occupations are usually smaller in size, less intelligent, and more feeble than the children born of healthy parents and brought up with the additional advantages of nourishing food, plenty of fresh air, and play."

To a minimum. It can't be eliminated.

I will let you caption this one yourselves.

"If the body is forced to keep at work after the fatigue point is reached, day after day, without sufficient sleep or opportunity to find healthful recreation, the reserve fund of energy stored in the cells of the body is used up ; 'and, if the strain is continued up to the limit of exhaustion, there may be a sudden revolt of the overtaxed organism and a collapse that may prove disastrous physically and mentally."

This is the modern method. The Victorian version of this book had the rescuer clap his hands sharply near the victim's face and bark, "I insist that you wake up a-twonce!"

Which brings us back to flu prevention and other workplace considerations. The President has already said you should use as much Sick Leave as you can.

Take this example from our text:

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