Robert Burns

“There is no such uncertainty as a sure thing.”
― Robert Burns, Collected Poems of Robert Burns

Each year, January 25th sees Scots (and indeed people from all over the world) celebrate the birth of Robert Burns, either by reading his poetry or taking part in a Burns supper.

The national poet of Scotland, Burns is also seen as an icon, both politically and socially, and a pioneer of the regarded Romantic movement. He is revered across the globe, with literary greats such as John Steinbeck and Bob Dylan citing him as an influence on their works.

At Pro-Sapien we are very proud of our Scottish heritage, as was Burns. To learn more about Burns, and see our reworked EHS version of one of his poems, please read on...

Farm labourer to literary sensation

Burns was born in a town called Alloway on January 25, 1759. Educated by his father, he was a labourer on the family farm. Whilst working, he honed his skill and love for poetry. He married Jean Armour, with whom he had twins, but after an argument he moved to Jamaica with another woman, Mary Campbell.

However, the sudden death of Mary, as well as the success of his first published poems, meant he returned to Scotland.

Burns, now a literary sensation, moved to Edinburgh, where he made many influential and rich friends, a stark contrast from his poor life on the farm. Burns hit a purple patch in his work, including the well known standards Ae Fond Kiss (I got married in the same building as the subject of this poem!) and Auld Lang Syne, still sung every New Years Eve across the world.

Having spent the majority of his Edinburgh wealth in a short period of time, Burns moved to Dumfries with his wife Jean (despite a string of affairs and illegitimate children). His new job as an excise officer, along with the toil of his earlier life and poor lifestyle choices meant Burns passed away at just 37 years of age.

Burns was chosen as The Greatest Scot of all time in a 2009 poll, beating William Wallace and Sir Alexander Fleming. His legacy lives on today with poetry readings and Burns suppers taking place every year on January 25th, the anniversary of his birth.

Haggis - traditional meal of Burns Night, January 25th
Haggis, Neeps (turnips), and Tatties (mashed potatoes) - traditional meal of Burns Night, celebrated in Scotland on January 25th

Safety ode to Burns

To pay homage to Burns, we have taken one of his more famous pieces, To A Haggis, and adapted it to convey the importance of safety management, both in Scottish (where possible!) and a more 'standard English' version.

Having worked in no doubt poor conditions on the farm, we would like to think Burns would be concerned about poor working conditions, such as the ones that contributed to his poor health.

If you think we can translate your safety from puir (poor!) to guid (good!), please get in touch, and Happy Burns Night!

Tae A Form

Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o the software'-race!
Aboon them a' ye tak your place,
Nuts, bolts an’a:
Weel are ye worthy o' a grace
As lang's my arm.

A groanin’ problem there you fill,
Like permit to work for a distant hill,
Your reports wad help to mend a mill
In time o need,
While thro your pores the data distils
Like amber bead.

His knife see rustic Labour dight:
A risk assessment needit in ready sight
We dinae want gushing entrails bright,
Like a stobbit body;
And then, O what an awfy sight,
They’re reid faced an’ fu’ o’ pyn!

Then, horn for horn, they stretch an strive:
Deil tak the hindmost o’ Pro-Sapien,
Till a' their weel-swall'd kytes belyve
Are bent like drums;
The auld EHS director, maist like to rive, 'Microsoft Integration! Bethankit' he hums!

Is there that owre his incident form, endit?
That wad naw staw a sow,
Though paper based wad mak ye spew
Wi perfect scunner,
I say wi sneering, scornfu view
Why nae hav it on yer mobile?

Poor devil! see him owre his paper,
As feckless as a wither'd rash,
His wuishen for it on his computer
His nieve a nit;
Thro mill or field to dash,
O how unfit!

But mark the Rustic, Pro-Sapien come
The trembling earth resounds their reports,
Clap in their walie nieve SharePoint,
He'll make the paper whissle;
An legs an arms, an heads will be safe,
Thru forms and reports a’plenty

Ye Pow'rs, wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out to all who want it
For those that wants nae skinking ware
Like auld paper forms an’ scunnered reportin’ But, if ye wish guid workin’...
Gie them Pro-Sapien!

To A Form (Translation) 

Fair and full is your honest, jolly face,
Great chieftain of the software race!
Above them all you take your place,
Nuts bolts and all
Well are you worthy of a grace
As long as my arm.

A massive problem there you fill,
Like permit to work for a distant hill,
Your reports would help to mend a mill
In time of need,
While through your pores the data flows
Like amber beads.

His knife see rustic Labour wipe:
A risk assessment is needed now,
We don’t want anyone getting hurt,
Like a cut on the body;
And then, O what a terrible sight,
Seeing them embarrassed, and in pain!

Then pound for pound, they stretch and strive: To be like Pro-Sapien,
Till all their attempts, by-and-by
Are bent like drums;
The EHS director, is about to burst,
‘Microsoft integration! Hooray!' he cries!

Is your incident form not completed?
It makes me sad.
Though a form on paper is not so good
With perfect disgust,
I say with sneering a, scornful view
Why wouldn’t you have a mobile form?

Poor devil! see him over his paper based form
As feeble as a withered rush,
Wishing it was on a computer
He clenches his fist
Through factory or field to dash,
This form isn’t fit for purpose!

But mark my words, Pro-Sapien come
The trembling earth resounds their reports,
Clap in their ample fist a SharePoint solution,
He'll make paper forms go away;

And legs, and arms, and heads will be safe Because of their many forms and reports.

Their powers, make mankind their care,
And help those who want it
Companies who want no poor compliance
Like old paper forms and poor reporting
But if you wish good working conditions...
Give them Pro-Sapien!

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