The Weird Workplace

Distracted operations lead to suspension; Ridiculous work refusals; Hands up for free cable;Step away from the chemistry lab; Beer much?
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 09/22/2014

Distracted operations lead to suspension

SEATTLE — Every surgery has its risks but you probably don’t want your doctor checking out his iPhone while you’re under the knife — especially if he’s sexting. That’s what one Seattle physician is accused of doing, according to the Washington State Department of Health. Arthur Zilberstein had his licence suspended after alleged disregard for patient safety, in some cases related to sexual incidents. His preoccupation with sexual matters included sexually explicit texts during surgeries when he was the responsible anesthesiologist, accessing medical-record imaging for sexual gratification and sexual encounters at the workplace. To top it all off, it’s alleged Zilberstein issued at least 29 unauthorized prescriptions for controlled substances and medication outside of his medical practice.

Ridiculous work refusals

LONDON — There’s workplace health and safety, and then there’s the ridiculous, according to the British government. The Department of Work and Pensions has released a list of complaints it investigated where workers claimed health and safety concerns. In one complaint, staff at a café refused to put strawberry sauce on a customer’s ice cream in case it dripped and caused a slip hazard, said the Daily Mail. Employees at another company were told not to wear open-toed shoes in the summer, while teachers declined to put sunscreen lotion on children. And one food truck operator refused to cut a hamburger in half because of health and safety reasons. “Enough is enough. It’s time we were all allowed to enjoy our summers, rather than have them spoiled by ridiculous, arbitrary and downright unreasonable application of apparent ‘health and safety’ rules,” said Health and Safety Minister Mark Harper. “Real health and safety laws exist to protect Britain’s workers, and not to be used as a smoke screen by jobsworths who have little knowledge of the law and who want to fob people off with an easy excuse.”

Hands up for free cable…

SAN PEDRO, Calif. — We can all get pretty frustrated with the cable guy but one Albuquerque woman got a little too angry, according to the Albuquerque Journal. Gloria Baca-Lucero, 48, was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon after she pulled a gun on a Comcast serviceman at her house near San Pedro. Apparently Baca-Lucero had thought the work would be free so she not only refused to pay, she took one of the man’s tool bags and refused to return it — and then pulled out a handgun. The worker retreated with his hands in the air, but went on to call police who searched the home to find a Glock, a magazine, 11 rounds of ammunition — and the tool bag.

… and step away from the chemistry lab

POCATELLO, Idaho — Presumably, it wasn’t supposed to go off. An assistant professor at Idaho State University managed to shoot himself in the foot during a chemistry class, according to Reuters. The man was carrying a concealed-carry gun permit when the semiautomatic handgun discharged in the classroom full of students. The instructor was allowed to carry the hidden gun on campus after a new state law went into effect July 1 for university grounds — to the objection of many university presidents, including Idaho State. While firearms are banned in areas of the physical science complex where there is nuclear research, they are allowed in the chemistry lab. Idaho State is considered one of the safest campuses in the United States — but that ranking may now change.

Beer much?

AUSTIN, Texas — Workers at Austin Beerworks might want to start hitting the gym more often. Their muscles will be needed when they’re hauling around the beer company’s latest offering — a 99-pack of beer. The 2.13-metre-long box consists of three rows of 33 cans, adding up to 37 kg, and will likely sell for US$99, said Reuters. “We made it at first as a joke,” said Michael Graham, co-founder of the craft brewery. But interest from retailers has been high — now they just have to find the shelf space.

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