Thursday, January 24, 2008

More Dangerous Than A Pit Of Snakes

When I was a kid I didn’t think there was anything more vanilla than working in an office. Sitting at a desk, typing away at a computer, sipping coffee, Xeroxing things. So I swore I would never work in an office. I wanted adventure. I wanted excitement. I wanted, dare I say, danger?

So in high school I started working at a local meat market. It was awesome. I was constantly surrounded by sharp objects. Slippery knife handles that were destined to claim a finger. Whirring band saws that could cut through a side of beef and your right arm if you weren’t careful. A puddle of blood on the wood floor that would send you soaring like an Olympic Ice Skater attempting to pull the dreaded Quad Lutz.

But in my ten years of working there, day in and day out, surrounded by hazardous conditions as defined by OSHA, I never once got an injury worse than a mild burn or a paper cut. I actually only but myself on a knife once and it bled for a mere 3 seconds and then didn’t bother me again.

So imagine my surprise when I ventured out into the corporate world and realized this: that working in an office in extremely dangerous to ones health.

Rarely does a day go by when someone doesn’t hurt themselves in some way around here. So I have compiled a list of the most common office related injuries so those who read this might have a chance to avoid them.

1) The Paper Cut
Paper cuts are never fun. But compared to the ones I used to get at the butcher shop, office paper cuts are a million times worse. Why? Because at the butcher shop I would get a tiny, super thin cut from the paper we used to wrap meat in. Here, I have sliced myself with a manila envelope, which leaves a mark similar to the slashing claw of a Velociraptor.

2) The Knee Slam
One of the woman who sits near me once slammed her knee so hard into the side of her desk that she thought she was going to pass out from the pain. Seriously, what do office designers think will happen when you shove a workers legs under a desk and give them a swivel chair?

3) The Shocker
The other day I thought one of my childhood dreams had come true. It turns out that I was not developing super powers, it was just really dry in the office and from trudging back and forth across the carpet ump-teen times a day the bolts of what I thought were lighting shooting from my finger tips were instead static. That day I shocked myself, a co-worker, my boss, and electronic chicken that when shaken peeps. I touched the file cabinet it was on, sent a shock through it and constantly set the chicken off. It was a loud day.

4) Fire crotch
No, this is not in reference to a certain color hair group but is the name I like to give the injury endured when one accidentally spills a mug full of scalding hot coffee into their lap. It is usually accompanied by a tribal like dance and hooting and hollering like a tractor enthusiast at the County Fair.

5) Blind Corners
My office was designed by either the guy who (A) created the Labyrinth where the mythical Minotaur ripped people to pieces –or- (B) came up with the ‘rat in a maze’ concept. Either way, there are blind corners everywhere, which means I have run into everyone from the President of the company down to the cute Hispanic guy who changes the light bulbs. This is extra dangerous if you are carrying a stack of manila folders (see Paper Cut) or a cup of coffee (see Fire Crotch).

6) Boxes
As a child you used them to create play houses and castles. You hid in them while playing hide and seek. You put them in your neighbors pool and used them like a boat. Little did you know one day that they would try and kill you. In my office boxes exist for one reason and one reason alone, to trip you. And when you trip, you most likely will fall onto something else and inflict more bodily injury.

7) The Tape Dispenser of Death
I have an average, black weighted tape dispenser (with a picture of a half walrus/half David Hasselhoff taped to it. Don’t ask.) And it hates me. Every time I rip off a piece of tape I slice myself on the cutting blade. Why is it so sharp? It’s mean to cut scotch tape, not carbide steel.

8) My Candy Dish
Okay, this is not a danger to me. Actually, I have the power to resist the candy. But my co-workers do not. And I am sure I will have a lawsuit brought against me when someone develops diabetes because I have 5 different kinds of Hershey Kisses at my desk which were too good to pass up.

9) Window Washers
This might be my over active imagination talking, but I am always afraid that the window washers are going to be a little too vigorous one day and smash the glass which will rain down upon me like a thousand tiny blades. It has yet to happen but I am sure it will one day.

10) Office Sounds
They haunt my dreams. The squeaking of the printer. The dull thud of a stapler. Constant clacking of keys from typing. I believe them to actually be more dangerous to my hearing than standing in front of the speakers at a Korn concert with Jonathan Davis alternating between screaming like a madman and playing the bagpipes for three hours straight.

Some of these can be cured by the box of Band Aids I keep in my desk drawer. Some require deep emotional and psychological counseling to recover from. Either way, I guess there is nothing to do except move forward (and try not to trip on the box).

The Office Scribe

1 comment:

David said...

A friend of mine does work-place safety for NASA (yeah industrial hygene MPH from michigan). Turns out, their office isn't as exciting as one might hope. Though he does test ventilators, so there is at least some danger involved.