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Health And Safety Training To Live In A Mad, Mad World

Mar 20, 2008
In this day and age you cannot avoid this nasty 'health and safety' attitude that permeates everything. Every news paper reports everyday some sort of madness or another that cannot happen without health and safety training.

There are chestnut trees that the council cannot plant due to the fact that conkers may fall on somebody. And, god forbid, children should find any conkers, they are not allowed to play the good old fashioned conker game that we all remember so well because they might hurt themselves.

Of course, if they had health and safety training that would be fine. They could be wrapped in cotton wool, with their conkers softened in water to prevent them being too hard, then the conkers could be sent away to a safe environment where men with hard hats and protective goggles could operate the machinery that would put them on string that wasn't so rough that it may cause calluses.

On return of the conkers, they could pretend to hit each other's conker with them from a safety distance of 12 feet, provided they were wearing the appropriate protective clothing. Do you see what I mean? This country has gone mad.

Of course, if you really wanted to keep your children safe, without the proper health and safety training, you could always wrap them safely and take them to feed the ducks at the weekend. Or maybe not. One council says it is against the health and safety of the ducks to be fed bread. Apparently, it is bad for them. Then you have any bread on the ground that the ducks don't eat that could attract vermin.

And that would be because vermin don't live near water anyway? Or that vermin wouldn't normally feed on anything the ducks had left? Or are we purely thinking duck health here where too much bread could cause constipation. Surely, less duck poo on the ground would be good for the health and safety of the humans around.
No slipping hazard, no harmful bacteria etc.

Maybe if all parents and romantic weekend walking couples had health and safety training, then feeding the ducks wouldn't cause such a health hazard to the wildlife and to us. We could educate ourselves on what is nutritious for ducks, work out a rota with other parents to ensure the ducks don't get so full that they have to leave any and mark out a path with yellow tape forbidding the ducks to poo anywhere within our zone.

When it comes to health and safety training, you can be quite sure our emergency services are well versed. It wouldn't make sense for them to put themselves in un-called for danger when they are trying to help us. But ask any fire fighter how safe a house is to enter when it's on fire? Or how safe it is to climb stairs in a burning building to rescue someone?

Of course it's not safe! They know this when they take the job and where on earth would we all be without them? Burnt to a crisp somewhere because it was against health and safety regulations for us to be rescued?

How many kids have grown up watching Fireman Sam rescue cute little kitty's from trees? How many girls went gooey over watching Blue Watch on London's Burning rescue damsels in distress and come out looking all rugged, sweaty, dirty and strong? Ok, maybe that was just me.

The point is that our emergency services are constantly put in dangerous situations. Yes, they go through rigorous training. They even have ladder training so that they are always aware of how to use their equipment safely.

So why, oh why, do councils prevent them from taking down festive bunting because it is a hazard to health and safety?

These are one of the few groups of people who have had the health and safety training. I'm quite sure that they wouldn't go up a ladder to remove bunting, get to the top and forget what they were there for and start dragging people out of windows! Or get to the top and forget how to get down again causing panic and mayhem in the high street when another engine has to come out and rescue a fireman from a ladder!

This whole issue of having to have health and safety training before we so much as walk down the street is getting ridiculous. Many businesses like to cover themselves ensuring people are appropriately trained in the use of equipment. This prevents them from getting sued if some idiot chooses to stand on a chair to change a light bulb but is it not about time we all started taking responsibility for what we do?
About the Author
Health and safety expert Catherine Harvey looks at the health and safety training needed to accomplish everything.
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