The Insanity Side of Health and Safety

Health and Safety, implemented to improve safety standards and working practices, has ended up a sordid mess. New rules are being introduced arbitrarily by  over-zealous individuals, who think they are doing the right thing, but are in reality making a mockery of the rules, and turning peoples lives into hell.

A power company, supplying large areas of Scotland, recently introduced new ‘H&S’ regulations for its staff. From now, all car drivers must reverse into parking spaces, and all people using the stairs must use the handrail. Disciplinary action will be taken against violators! Typical of someone’s idea that they can implement regulations in the name of H&S for their idea of the ‘common good’.

Among the more ridiculous interpretations of the rules these days is the case of an Old Age Pensioner George Pretty (72). He made a weekly run to the local fish and chip shop to get meals for the OAP’s in the home he was in. He had been doing it for years, until some erstwhile Housing Warden told him he must stop because he did not have an insulated box to carry the meals in, and this was against H&S rules.

The Midlothian Council, again in Scotland, has been leaving all the lights on at night in a high school abandoned for the past seven years. The reason, vandals entering the property might injure themselves. According to a spokesman, they have a duty to do this because as owners of the property they can be sued if someone hurts themselves after entering the premises illegally.

Two regional BBC Show presenters wanted to do a trial on their programme to see who could change the wheel of a car the quickest. To satisfy H&S a mechanic was called in to do a risk assessment, and eventually the producer decided the trial could not go ahead unless a paramedic was standing by. Does this mean that should you ever suffer a puncture at any time, you must call an ambulance before you can change the wheel?

It would seem that even bar staff are allowed to interpret the H&S laws as they see fit. In March last year a woman, 26 weeks pregnant, was having a rare pint of lager with friends in a pub when she was asked if she would like another half. Having already decided that would be her limit, she was shocked to hear the bar-woman refuse to give the friend her drink because she was pregnant. She let it go without a fuss, but a little later, took a sip from a friends glass at which point the assistant manageress marched over and told her and her friends to leave the premises immediately because as a pregnant woman she should not be drinking alcohol. A blatant display of her using her limited powers to force her opinion of pregnant women and alcohol onto the unfortunate woman. To their credit, the brewery did offer the woman and her friends a full apology. As to the ‘SS’ managerial assistant, who knows, but I hope she never gets to be a manager.

For 43 years, 63 year-old Graham Alexander has cut the grass of the large roadside verge outside his house, until recently that is. He has now been told by Wiltshire Council that he must leave it for the contractors, because he is “endangering himself and others and could be hurt by the mower or flying debris.” Should he continue he will be prosecuted.

This sort of insanity is not solely restricted to private individuals, it can affect government institutions too. The British Coast-guard Service have done valuable work around the shores of Britain for hundreds of years, rescuing sailors and civilians alike when they get into trouble. Ever since the First World War they have been using flares fired from a flare pistol to illuminate large areas during a search for people or ships. Now they are forbidden for H&S reasons. The official view is that infra-red cameras, night vision goggles and spotlights have made the flares redundant. The Coast-guard do not agree, and still use them when necessary.

Isn’t it amazing how people and times change, and how pathetic some people can be? To be fair, part of the reason for institutions taking the stance they do, is the rampant ‘compensation’ culture rife in Britain for the past twenty years. You can be sued by someone who breaks a nail while typing on your computer for example, or even by a burglar who gets hurt while breaking into your house. Crazy Huh!

It makes me wonder who the insane ones really are, those in the rubber rooms looking out or those on the outside looking in!

Keep smiling – it ain’t over yet!

Roy.

4 Responses to “The Insanity Side of Health and Safety”

  1. Great post, really help me a lot. Thanks.

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  3. Florina Says:

    Unbelievable. This country is too worried about weird stuff. In my country they don’t give a damn. Anyway it is too ridiculous for words. It seems to me like the Brits are yet again copying what the Americans are doing. Health and Safty regulation, my ass, they are covering their own asses now scared of law-suits. Strange people!!

    Like

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