I'm feeling all full of Righteous Fury at the moment and just had to share with someone, so you lucky people win ;) This morning we took Merry to kindy, as we always do on Tuesday, and on the way home we decided to pop into Woolies to grab some milk & bread. As we walked up to the store THIS is what we were confronted with:  

 The photo was actually taken after the fact, so you’ll just have to imagine those guys over on the left standing inside the orange mesh operating JACKHAMMERS!! The pic also doesn’t give the best idea of the space so let me share…this is a smallish courtyard that is bordered on 3 sides by shops, a chemist, a newsagent and Woolworths. The only shop that actually has walls/doors is Woolworths, the other, smaller shops have got open fronts that they roll down metal shutters to close up at night. So they are wide open to the noise outside. The entrances of all 3 of these shops (plus the bakery, which is just up 3stairs to the left of the pic) are within about 3.5metres of this god awful noise & dust.  

Anyway, on with the story. The boys and I cover our ears and RUN into Woolworths, me swearing under my breath the entire way. We get the items we were after, plus a pack of kinder surprise eggs for the kids ;) (mum’s the hero!) and go to the checkout. We stand there for a good 5minutes waiting , because the customer ahead of me can’t get her card to swipe correctly, and I chat with the cashier. She left work with a booming headache yesterday, and is sure she’s heading for a migraine today L I let her know I wasn’t impressed and that I’d be calling someone about it because *I* was already having ringing in the ears & dizzyness and that was just after 15minutes exposure to it! We finish the transaction, cover our ears, and RUN out to the car as quickly as we can. By the time I get into the car I have to sit & calm down for a bit, as my heart is just pounding… but it didn’t stop, so apparently it wasn’t just the short sprint. After I got home I looked up this.  Friggin Acoustic Trauma… FAIL.  

I got home and was fuming! I rang Strider to see exactly who I should call to have something done about it.. He suggests Workplace Health & Safety. First though, I ring Woolworths and speak to the very nice Store Trading Manager. I let him know that I was on the warpath because I came in to get milk and bread, and left with shrieking, ringing ears, dizzyness and my heart was pounding. ..and I was not happy. I also told him if he wanted to avoid compo claims, he’d get the cashiers some ear defenders right NOW, because at least one of his workers was already complaining of a severe headache! He kindly assured me he would get on that immediately upon hanging up, and gave me the number I requested for the centre management offices whom I called & left a msg for.

I then rang the State office of Workplace Health & Safety. These people put the fear of god, proverbially speaking, into companies. I gave the basics of the situation to the receptionist and she just said Oh dear, and put me straight on to speak with an inspector so I could file a formal complaint. The gentleman was incredibly sympathetic and helpful, and had a laugh with me when I said ‘I know you can’t really put this in the actually complaint, but someone’s ass needs to get nailed to the wall’ and he said OH, but I can if you want ;) LOL I informed him that I was going to go back up and take a photo of the area just in case the inspectors couldn’t be there straight away and after giving DH a quick ring to let him know what was up, headed back out to make the 3minute drive up there… but before I could do that…

Centre management, a very unhelpful company named QED Enterprises, rang back and I spoke with the gentleman that handles this centre. He pretty much blew me off stating there was no other time to do it, no way around the noise. When I suggested after hours he said that then local residents would complain, to which I replied yes, they may… but they won’t be deaf or suing you. I also pointed out that the nearest actual HOUSES were at least 200M away, and across a noisy busy road anyway! I told him I’d already spoke with WHS and that he could just take it up from them when they call about my formal complaint, and said goodbye. He did however, give me the name & number of the company doing the concrete work though.   SO thumbs down to you, HAW Construction!!!! 

That took about 5minutes and then we left.  I got there, parked fairly close but not too close, and walked up to find the workers standing to the side talking amongst themselves … or so I thought. I took a few pics and went back to the car and rang hubby again to say wow, shock horror they’ve stopped.  THEN a gentleman in a blue shirt emblazoned with ‘workplace health& safety’ walked up to the car right next to mine lol. NOW I knew why they’d stopped.. That was fast! I hopped out of the car and introduced myself and asked him exactly what was going to be done and he informed me that it already was! The company doing the work had been given a stop work notice and agreed to return the next evening at 530pm or so to complete the work, after most of the shops were closed. There were several ‘notices’ issues (which sounds an awful lot like a nicer way of saying FINES to me?). He had also gone into the business and spoken with the workers & owners to make sure nobody was suffering serious effects of the prolonged exposure and instructed them as to what to do if they did.   I cannot say enough good things about WHS at this point.. the Inspector was literally on site, and had shut the offence down within 30minutes of my call at the most!  So Kudo's to you gentlemen, you rock!!!!! 

 I thanked him very much, not only for myself.. But also for the employees who should not have to work in those conditions, and the other customers who should not have to cart infants and children through noise that is easily 130 decibels!  The only thing higher on that chart? A friggin airplane lifting off (I’d assume at close range) Normal city traffic, office machines etc are about 80db and each increase in 6db is not just an increase of 6.. It actually represents a DOUBLING of the amount of noise produced! So these workers had been subjected to noise that is basically at the level of torture, for hours and hours. And I stopped it. Why on EARTH the Woolies store manager didn’t DO SOMETHING about it, I do not know.. But I intend to find out!  

I can’t understand why the average citizen/shopper/patron of a store would not say HEY this is not ok! And take it further to protect not only their own safety, but that of others. They assume that the store management will handle it… or that someone else will do it. It’s always someone else’s job. People, nobody in this world cares as much about your safety as YOU DO. If you see something that is just not ok, DO SOMETHING!! It’s not that hard to find out who you should contact or to start talking to ANYONE that might help handle the problem. Talk walk off and do nothing but complain to yourself does nobody any good.  

Because I got angry at what I was forced to endure, and started making phone calls.. No less than FIFTY employees in the shops surrounding that work area are now spared having to possibly risk permanent hearing loss at worst, or at the very least, having to endure horrible headaches. Why can’t more people put themselves out that way, and take up an hour of their time on the phone, instead of waiting for someone else to do it?

P.S. It’s now almost 2hours after the incident… the ringing/shrieking in my ears is not so loud now, but it throbs and is painful. My heart has finally stopped pounding and the shakiness/ dizzyness has subsided I think (I’ve been sitting down having an iced coffee, jotting down this post). Frodo complains of a headache, and I have given him some nurofen in hopes that it helps. Sam seems unaffected, but then he is a VERY hearty little soul so I am not too surprised. If I still have pain or dizzyness in a couple of hours, I suppose I’ll go to the doc and see if there is anything they can do. And it will document the issues if I actually have any continuing drama because of this… however unlikely that may be).  

If you made it through this novel of a rant, I lift my iced coffee and offer you a toast for listening and hopefully being inspired to protect your community in whatever tiny ways you can!  And now, I go to lay in a nice quiet room for a bit in hopes that my poor head & ears can recover...
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