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Health And Safety Bulgarian Style

It goes without saying that health and safety in the workplace is an issue not to be taken lightly.


For many of us who are of non-Bulgarian nationality and have left our homeland of extreme laws and regulations, Bulgaria, it can be said has left some of us both amused and bemused at what we have witnessed.

Homemade scaffolding
can be seen mainly in villages around the country, so don`t be surprised to see a builder working at a great height on a house, only to find that the supporting scaffold beneath his feet is made from wooden sticks tied together with string.

Safety footwear consists mainly of flip-flops, as roofers especially, find them easier and faster to manoeuvre in. Another option is to go bare footed to obtain a better grip and also to ensure that you definitely will not fall off.

The Chainsaw is a common sight especially around the time of firewood deliveries and if you intend to purchase one for your own use, then you MUST only buy either Husqvarna or Stihl, as failing to do so will ultimately leave you with the title of  'The Village Idiot'.

Operating the chainsaw is not rocket science but there are a few guidelines that must be followed;

1. The instructions that are provided with the machine, no matter what language they are written in will be wrong as the manufacturers have gas or electricity fuelled central heating in their homes and have had little or no experience in using a chainsaw. The instructions can therefore be used later to help get the fire started once you have cut the wood.

2. Cutting the wood is best done when the wood is first delivered and whether it has been stacked or left in a huge pile; this is the ideal way to work on it. Do Not under any circumstances be tempted into using a cutting jig as these can be dangerous. With the chainsaw running, climb on to the top of the wood pile, being careful not to slip, again flip-flops or bare feet are highly recommended here. If you are in any way nervous of the machine and its dangers then one or 2 shots of Rakia is best consumed prior to working.

3. Protecting the eyes is best achieved by turning away from the machine whilst cutting through the wood or closing the eyes. Safety goggles and glasses are best avoided if you don`t want your neighbours to laugh at you.

4. Injuries from the chainsaw can be treated by dabbing the wound with Rakia and you should only seek medical advice if the chain has penetrated the bone in your leg. You will then be proud of your scar, as this will be a topic of interest for the rest of your life.

Driving in Bulgaria has a lot to be desired, but why do Bulgarian people drive as they do?

It always seems to come as a great surprise or in many cases a shock to the locals when coming from a road bend and driving on the wrong side of the road to find you both head on. Why do they overtake you and then slow down to stay directly in front of you?

Why are zebra crossings put on the bend of a dangerous road or just after a major junction?

Why are road and street signs positioned at a very low height on pavements, often at head height?

Please note that this article was written only as a humorous view of points encountered daily by expats in Bulgaria and is in no way intended to be taken seriously or to offend anybody.