The health and safety of my feet !
People will tell you the word has gone “health and safety” mad. They will site cases of “not being allowed to use step ladders at work” being “made” to wear safety glasses when none are required. They will tell of charity car washes, or car boot sales being banned, meaning the church roof does not get fixed. They will point there uneducated finger of blame at legislation, and the Health and Safety Nazis that enforce the regulations. This is simply another case of something we “know” not being so. I will set two reasons why you should think deferentially about Health and Safety, the Insurance industry and my feet.
The Insurance Industry.
As any of you who have had the misfortune of attempting to make a claim on your Household Insurance Policy will know, the umbrella protection you were promised is filled with holes, and whatever you have damaged has a clause attached and you breached it ! Yes, I’m very sorry Mr/Mrs Customer but you are not totally covered, our highly trained Loss Adjuster (that you as a non trained person will never beat in a argument ! ) found a way for us to cover only half of your loss. The very same companies that go to extreme lengths to reduce your personal pay outs also cover the Companies, Churches, Shops, City Councils that enforce these preventive measures we see as madness. Removing risks of incidents reduces the premium they pay.
A business gets a insurance quote. Lets say £ 10,000. The Company says “thats very expensive” the reply to that is “Sir, you had 100 eye injures last year, 40 people fell of stepladders and one person was run over while washing a car for charity. These incidents mean we have to pay out, reduce these incidents this year and your premium goes down next year. How much it goes down is dependent on how manny less incidents you have” This is when and why the people running the organization suddenly remove the stepladders, make you wear glasses all the time and ban the activities. They are not going to say “it makes my insurance cheeper” oh no ! that is not in there interests. So they tell you “It breaches Health and Safety Regulations”
The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulation requires your employer to provide, Free of charge any Item that is necessary to protect your person. It also states that where possible and practicable the employee should have a degree of choice in the equipment. The equipment must be replaced as necessary and suitable for the task the person is required to carry out. If you work in a factory this means providing footwear that has suitable grip on the sole, is waterproof and has toe protection for objects falling on the persons foot. The part of the regulation concerning replacement and personal choice is why most major employers will work with suppliers and produce a sheet with several types of work shoes or boots and let employees pick a set, typically this is done every 18 months. This is not the employers being “nice” or giving a “perk” the law compels them to do it. When a group of people are picking boots, inevitably there will be jokes flying about people wearing these “free shoes” out and about, like every day shoes. It is a joke because of two reasons
(a)although you have a choice, they all look exactly like what they are, Industrial WorkWare, they will not be mistaken.
- The employer checks you are wearing the boots they bought you, and it takes very little time for them to be serviceable, but in a condition that makes them look ten years old.
I join in the joking, there is little choice, but it is not that funny. I have found that opposed to 18 months i can get close to two and a half years out of the boots. That means every third pair are not necessary, and therefore every Four and a half years i get a pair of boots that
- keep my feet warm and dry
- Are officially owned by work and therefore my wife can not throw them away
- As my personal equipment given to protect me from hazards at all time on work premises totally legal for me to wear from the moment I arrive until the moment I go home, and the only way to do that is to wear them on the commute !
Obviously there is a downside, they are in no way stylish, and everyone that looks at them knows what they are but in a world where you are allowed one pair of trainers and one pair of dress shoes, and both of them replaced every four to five years, these boots are a godsend in the snow or rain.
When I escaped I made a decision, no more wearing work equipment as clothes. It may have been a rash decision as I did not rescue my “home” work boots when I went. This is how i came to find myself in the City Center recently in snow wearing shoes that were 6 years old and always going to leek in those conditions. In a moment of madness I bought a pair of socks, walked into the Timberland Shop and put a pair of boots on the Credit Card, changed my socks before putting them on and walked out with warm dry feet. I can not really afford to do this, but sometimes you have to realize that you are in debt or you are not, a little more is not going to change the big picture. What is changing the picture is having dry feet, realizing that there was no real reason I went without having proper shoes in the first place and there is no reason to soak the bottom of your jeans trying to hide a label that says “quality Work Ware” not when the heel of your boots say Timberland !