Home Sweet & Safe Gingerbread Home: A Christmas EHS Story
I am lying here cooling off from the oven with my new companion Grace. We are both gingerbread ‘persons’ to be politically correct. I am George, and we were just freshly baked from the kitchen of Ms. Nickolas. And yes, we have gum drop buttons.
So what does this have to do with Health and Safety you might ask? Well, let me begin. See, we are up at the North Pole and it is quite cold here. Grace and I are going to need a place to stay. Based on our size and needs, a, gingerbread house must be made. Now, I must admit, I am a bit handy with tools but I have contracted Elf Construction to help out. They had impeccable references.
Our tastes are simple. Grace wants three bedrooms, an attic, and a nice kitchen. I want a garage, and a gingerbread dog – but that is a different story. We have developed a plan with the architect today and are ready to start.
Before starting, Elf Construction informed me of all the safety procedures I need to follow before I work with them. But then who reads the manual these days. They came and laid the foundation and I only hit my fingers twice with the nail gun while helping with the framing. They have an incident reporting system that logged my issue, repaired the crumbled hand a bit, refined the process from working with me and I will never do that again.
Next up was the framing of the house and the roof. Elf Construction installed the scaffolding and I put on a safety harness to go up on the roof. Meanwhile Grace helped mix the butter, brown sugar, molasses, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and the baking soda in what almost looked like a hazmat suit. She stayed healthy and safe while looking like the Pillsbury dough girl. Then she used a small pallet and mini-fork lift to carry the mix to the refrigerator carefully following what Elf Construction called MSDS sheets.
After the mixture was ready, Elf Construction and I used a roller machine, that I got to drive. I wore the safety helmet and gear. I got the DOT certified training to rollout the walls and roofing and, of course, my garage. We then had to cut and trim the dough edges with high power saws to get the proper dimensions. I needed safety googles and gloves to protect myself from free falling crumbs and make sure not to get my buttons lost. I used a mask and ear plugs for the noise and fumes from the sugar. Onward to Muffin Man Bakery for the hardening while Grace worked on the icing formula.
In a highly ventilated room wearing long sleeve shirts and pants as protection, Grace mixed the icing while I prepared to attach the sides with the icing on the scaffolding. Being somewhat flat I did fall off the scaffolding and did get a slight crimp in my neck which is why, now I lean to one side a bit. Another incident to report for not following procedures.
When the house was done, that was when the fuss began as we added the electricity, internet service, appliances, and furniture. Picking out the window treatments and hanging pictures was brutal. Then again it is the holidays. We have our home, and without an EHS solution behind it all we would not have survived the process. I do want to go back up on the roof though and eat some of that candy...
Have a happy holiday to all and best wishes,
George and Grace