On Tuesday, I went for a WH&S induction. I was told that WH&S replaces the old OH&S framework. Apparently, HSRs help to monitor contractors. Contractors must ensure that appropriate PPE is used. Contractors must also provide up-to-date SDSs for all chemicals used on site. Furthermore, a PCBU has an absolute duty to take all reasonable steps to ensure health and safety of workers.
I wasn't sure if I was being inducted or if I'd stumbled into an English As a Second Language class! One acronym came to my mind ... WTF?!
In case you are wondering why I was participating in this induction (and surely you are!), I have been doing some volunteer work at a hospital in an arts program! Me and my new best friends (three electricians, an air cooling expert, and two cleaners at a mental health facility) were being inducted!
I was very nervous. The course started at 8.30am and was held at the local hospital. I barely slept the night before. I've worked on my own for so long that I've forgotten what it's like to do any kind of course with real people in a real place of employment! This feels way too grownup for me!
"Do you think there will be a test?" I asked my husband. He had done this kind of thing before.
"Nah, not for this. You're just being inducted."
"Phew," I thought.
"So," said the lady running the course, "first I will go through the presentation, then there will be a short quiz."
"Fuck, Fuck, Fuck" (Me ... not her!)
"Now, don't worry," she assured us "no-one's failed it yet!"
"Fuck, Fuck, Fuck, I'm going to be the first person in history to fail." (me again!)
At least now I was alert and awake, despite my four hours of sleep. I then proceeded to annoy everyone by asking the teacher questions. I thought I'd better clarify things if there was going to be a quiz! Even she looked exasperated with me. I was slowing things down. People obviously had places to be. Finally, the moment of truth arrived. She handed out the quiz.
"Now, I'm going to leave the room," she announced. "Feel free to discuss things, if necessary."
"Fuck, Fuck, Fuck, I came alone! People in front of me and behind me were whispering, comparing notes. Fuck, Fuck, Double Fuck!"
I read through the quiz. OK, I took a deep breath. I am an editor. The questions were multiple choice and seemed pretty obvious. Hesitantly, I answered the first few questions. So obvious!! What was I worried about. The cleaners behind me were agitated. The guys in front of me were crossing out answers. I was already done!
The course instructor returned. She began marking the guys in front. Perfect score. The second guy (who looked to be the age of my eldest son) also got perfect! "Well done," praised the instructor. She must have had doubts about him! The next guy motioned for me to go. I knew he'd come with the others, so I let him go ahead. He looked pretty nervous. Perfect!
Now, it was my turn. Correct, correct, correct ... and then a pause ... and then a big X! "Oh," she said, "looks like you've got one wrong!"
I could feel my face getting hot. "Really?" I said.
She pointed to the question. It was a true or false answer: You are prohibited from consuming alcohol in the workplace.
I'd answered "False"!!!!
"So, the correct answer would be?" she asked.
"Oh, yes, of course, the answer would be true!"
"It's OK, love," she said. "A lot of people get that one wrong. It's sort of a trick question."
I couldn't really see what was so tricky about it, other than the fact that you had to read the question carefully, which I obviously hadn't done ... unlike my friends, the electricians! Thankfully, I still passed the induction. I sheepishly accepted my card.
Something occurred to me later in the day. I work from home ... so, technically, I do allow alcohol in my workplace!
I'm glad I didn't think of this at the time, however. I don't think the instructor would have appreciated my little joke!