Thursday, 23 February 2012


My cloning experiment has been sabotaged. I came home from work last night to find all of my efforts destroyed - all biological material had been removed from my house.
When I first walked in, I thought I'd been burgled. There was the instant feeling that things weren't as I'd left them in the morning. Then I noticed stuff on the table had moved and some of the furniture wasn't in the exact same place. Some of the curtains were half open and the fans were still on in the bathroom. 
The most obvious sign of an intruder was in the kitchen, where there was a large mess of plates and pans that had been cleared up. Washed and dried. 
In the bedroom, someone had gone to great effort to rip the sheets and pillow cases and throw them all into the washing  machine.
The bathrooms and shower room were pretty dirty, no effort had been made to clean them.
Until yesterday, when my the cleaning wallah paid a visit and transformed my bachelor pad back into a family home, smelling of pine, zest and other stuff I had in unopened bottles under the sink.
So after months of painstakingly gathering enough genetic material over all surfaces in my house, an over zealous houseboy has ensured that my clone will never rise from the dust.
And he came again today, I think I've now got a regular cleaner.  I'm putting my laundry out tomorrow to see if the washing & ironing wallah come along too.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Safety First

Every month, managers are expected to make a visit to a rig where we have operations and conduct an audit . The aims are to make sure that our field staff are following correct procedures, that the rigs are safe and that a manager still knows what a rig looks like, whilst getting their pristine coveralls dirty. Although it means a long day of travelling and a backlog of e mails to return to, the rig visit allows the manager to achieve their required number of hazard observation cards (HOC).

The Road Side Cafe: Good Nescafe, huge open toilet area
Everyone in the company is required to submit a minimum of 2 HOC  a month, where you report an unsafe condition or act and record any action taken or suggested. For the field guys, this should be easy, but for the office based manager it can be difficult to observe anything that could be classed as unsafe, except maybe a particularly irate Egyptian.

As well as being a chance to increase a personal HOC count, a safety audit is good fun. You wander around a rig and look for ways in which people could get hurt or where rules have been broken, it’s a chance to be a safety detective. Another bonus is that the Company Man, the big boss on the rig, the man who used to make your life hell when you were a field hand, has to be really nice to you, give you coffee and thank you for pointing out all the defects in his operations. And he has to smile while he does it.

I’ve done two rig visits so far and on each one have found 20 things to raise a HOC card for, so even if I submit no more until November, I’m still on target. But I’ll keep going, as one of my engineers submitted 154 last year and we gave him $500, so now it’s a competition.
Play along and spot the hazards from a recent rig visit, (answers at the end, no cheating):

1. An electric lamp on the cement tanks

2. The chemical loading area
3. Electrical cables
4. Wilden Pump

5. One of the water pits

6. A Compressor 

While taking the photos, the Rig Safety Officer came and asked me if I'd got a permit to use the camera, a fair cop, I hadn't. I asked him why he wasn't wearing any safety glasses...

  1. Insulation & armour of cable broken
  2. No safety barrier across lifting area
  3. Cables insulated with plastic bags 
  4. No whipcheck cables
  5. Child's toy substituting for a life belt
  6. A 'guard' you can put your fingers through isn't a safety guard