Safety scroll slams Odyssey

Odysseus with harness, crew with hearing protectionA series of fatal accidents and revenge plots claimed the lives of the entire crew and staff of Greek hero Odysseus on his homeward voyage. Breach of SHEQ protocols are alleged in an ancient scroll on the ten-year voyage.

All Ithaca welcomed the conquering hero’s return from the successful siege or Troy and re-occupation of his own home, but Eteocles, head of the Ithaca SHEQ Executive, noted a careless attitude towards crew and employees in a¬†welcoming address, the supposed subject of the scroll.

Issues that required investigation include failure to carry out an impact assessment before landing on the island of the nymph Calypso. A check of past trends would have revealed the risk of romance and imprisonment.

The hero allowed five crew members to be eaten by the Cyclops Polyphemus. Drug abuse on the journey was rife, as indicated by fantasmagorical tales recorded by the bard Homer, and differing accounts by subsequent Mediterranean sea voyagers.

No life jackets or signal flares were on board when their ship sailed between the sea monster Scylla and the whirlpool Charybdis, causing several fatalities and post-traumatic stress disorder among survivors.

Odysseus did not use hearing protection when sailing past the Sirens, although the incident is a rare example of the hero using a harness, and of protective equipment issued to the crew. He allowed the witch Circe to turn some crew members into pigs, illustrating the risks of poor housekeeping.

The hero’s palace was at risk of structural damage from a net and fire used against the suitors, and hanging 20 maidservants by their girdles from a beam unsuitable to bearing such a load.

Eteocles calculated that the ten year journey could have taken two months and should have supported trade exchange, instead of leaving a trail of indiscretion, aggression, and bodies.

The Eteocles scroll ends with cultural change, in a passage that some scholars believe to be an addition made by a pacifist scholar in London after the Second World War: “Heroes belong in war, not in palaces. Boys and generals invite tragedy, and should themselves die in war, or survive as changed men. Men and heroes save lives. Their example tutor generals and kings to preserve peace.”

-News Biscuit, a humour site, citing Oxbridge; Mark and Mary Evans.

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