Employee Safety & Health Concerns: Ice

So today is one of those normal days where we get an ice storm.

No, wait. That’s wrong. We rarely if ever see sub-freezing temperatures, let alone sub-freezing temperatures combined with precipitation of the snowy or icy variety. Who am I trying to kid? Let me rephrase, then.

Today is a unique day when everyone and everything that has even an ounce of self-preservation is remaining out of sight indoors in the interest of avoiding the sheets of ice on, well, everything outdoors.

The ice covering the plant right outside my front door…

As you can see, it was a bit frozen. I took a few different photos for the sheer beauty of the icicles, but did I go to work this morning at 8 am? No.

Was work called off due to conditions where even the state troopers and fire departments experienced incidents where their vehicles flipped on the side of the road? No.

I had, conveniently enough, scheduled off work for today to enjoy a three day weekend (also a good thing since my throat was so sore I could barely speak when I woke this morning) prior to yesterday’s general workplace pandemonium about increasing weather reports of ice, school closings, and overall danger on the roads. I knew I wouldn’t be at work and was already planning to sleep in.

This morning, my phone started alerting me to the general weather alerts at 7:50 am. It woke me up, so I decided out of curiosity to call the office weather line to see if they had shut down.

For the sake of reference: all county schools in my area and the surrounding areas are closed. Even the local university, which never closes due to weather, has shut down. Most banks and government institutions have even shut their doors today.

I called the weather line only to hear: “This is the weather line report for today, January 25. We are scheduled for regular business hours. Every employee is expected to be in attendance. If you are unable to attend, please inform your supervisor. You will need to use sick or vacation hours. And remember: be safe!”

Yes, be safe. In this?

Icicles dangling from my back deck awning. I was holding onto the wall but slipped just stepping a bit out from under the cover. Silly ice!

Clearly the call center believes the safety of its employees comes before the business.


Might I add that for my department, today was only a four hour workday? Why they couldn’t cancel work in conditions where there have been reports of everything from fire trucks to salt trucks going off the roads is beyond me. I suppose we must shoulder on in the pursuit of collecting on delinquency.

Neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow, nor ice…

…will stop the call center from calling a delinquent account near you.

I suppose if we stopped to worry about employee safety, we might actually concern ourselves with the fact that employees actually have lives, families, and other obligations besides being tethered to the phones. And that might make us remember that makes those employees just the same as us. And heaven forbid we begin treating employees who slave in the call center as equals… because then we might treat them differently.

Ah well, either way, I’m curled cozily in my bed, enjoying my day off, and incredibly grateful I “sacrificed” some vacation time to avoid this beautiful but deadly icy weather.





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