Happiness and Sanity Explode

This morning I had to go do my Kodak mandated “Health, Safety and Environment” (HSE) orientation. Yawn.

Because I’m here as a contract programmer, I get treated like all the other contractors. Before I start and every two years I had to have my mandatory HSE Orientation, where I get a little card I have to carry around in my wallet in case somebody asks – and they never ask. So there I am at 7:30 in the morning with a bunch of carpenters, welders and pipe fitters learning about the hazardous chemicals and environments at Kodak. Great. I’m sure that training will come in handy if I ever spill diet Coke on my keyboard or sprain my back trying to shift my monitor from one side of the desk to another, which are the greatest hazards I’m exposed to once I get into work. Of course getting here is a different matter, since on the hike from the overflow parking lot to the building I walk by a number of chemical pipelines and smell a number of aromatic hydrocarbon smells. And of course there is all the asbestos in the walls, but hey, that’s been there for 40 or 50 years, so it’s probably all safely bedded down now and not going anywhere, right? Unless those wall shaking thumps I keep harping on about are shaking asbestos loose, but that couldn’t happen, could it?

The lecture consists of this crusty old guy saying “If you do this, Kodak will fine you. If you do this, Kodak will throw you off the property. If you do this other thing, Kodak will ban you from the property, and ban your employer until they prove that they’ve fired you. Oh, and this other thing? Do that and we’ll call the cops. Forgot to mention, do this thing here, and we’ll fine you, ban you from the premises, tell your employer to fire you, kill you and your family and pets, and burn down your house and salt the ground.” One of the things he cautioned us about right at the beginning was falling asleep in the lecture – evidently I’m not the only one who finds getting to work at 7:30 a little draining. However, mostly it sounded like Jasper on the Simpsons saying “Talking in class, that’s a paddling, chewing gum, that’s a paddling, using the school canoe, that’s a paddling…”

The only thing I got out of the lecture that I didn’t know before is that Kodak has finally realized that there is no point banning cameras from the workplace (yes, really – we make cameras, but you’re not allowed to have one on the premises unless you bought it from the company store and it’s still sealed in the box) unless they also ban cell phones with cameras, so they’ve banned those as well. Of course, they haven’t banned USB pen drives, so I can do a thousand times more industrial espionage than anybody could with a camera. I’m profoundly grateful for this, because I often take my work home on a pen drive.

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