At some point in the 1980s or 90’s
workplace commonsense became uncommon
when standards were invented.
lengthy tomes of inconsequential detail.
A man who worked in a care
where people were expected to die
was asked the protocols for such an event.
treat the body with respect and notify family.
Inadequate. Insensitive. Unprofessional.
A protocol must be written
19 pages of
functions, procedures, accountabilities, inputs, outputs.
A crisp, authoritative manual
urging respect and immediate contact of family.
In the hospital kitchen I once oversaw
if something was used a rigorous scrubbing was dispensed
all surfaces were washed at the end of each day.
No schedules, no manual, no protocols just routine.
Cleaning graduates to sanitation. Training is necessary.
The instructor talks of the invisible dangers
campylobacter, salmonella, food borne illness. New apparently.
pathogens lurk everywhere – especially for chilled food.
temperature must be recorded every four hours
and a refrigerator logbook kept.
At coffee I confide the absence to a fellow attendee
She suggests I adopt her example
once a week
she fills out a logbook
writing in temperatures within the recommended range.
What if malfunction reveals lack of monitoring?
No problem. Everybody is on board.
Before raising any alarm
find the logbook
fill in any blanks with exonerating temperatures.