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Employers Protection Against The Ridiculous

May 20, 2008
The UK is fast becoming the Health and Safety nightmare of the modern world. There are those who work in the care sector who are not allowed to come into physical contact with the people they care for fear of breaching some health and safety law, there are those in childcare who are not allowed to so much as apply a sticky plaster without a signed waver from the parent.

Of course, to counteract all these nonsense rules we have health and safety training. You can go on a course if you want to be certified to apply plasters to grazes which always comes in handy when you're working in a playschool. If the teachers are away on health and safety training courses then they have stand in teachers. If the children should graze themselves during this time, there is no need to worry. They will simply call out a parent who can then drop what they are doing at work and run and fix their broken child.

If you think this is crazy then look to the UK's compensation culture to appoint blame. For fear of being sued in the event of a plaster reaction and a rash appearing, teachers are stepping back from taking any action that involves physical contact and could result in a law suit.

I have a family member with a disabled teenager. His mother has no health and safety training yet she continues to lift this eighteen year old boy backwards and forwards to the bathroom. This is because the council housed her in a place that had a step down into a tiny bathroom with no wheel chair access.

The council refused to put in hoists because they needed to move house and didn't want the expense. They asked for help from social services with help to bathe him and although there are social workers who have had health and safety training to lift weights, he was over a certain weight to be lifted without a hoist. And they won't fit a hoist because....

So, with diabetes and two major heart attacks under her belt, his mum continues to lift him without health and safety training and does what the majority of us do - she just gets on with it.
Care workers all need health and safety training. To lift another human, however frail, can cause difficulties and especially back problems. Of course, people have done this for years without complaining but, as I said, in this age of compensation claims no company can afford to slip up in the training to approach things with common sense, apparently.

There are work places where health and safety training makes common sense. The building site, for instance. Nobody would expect an inexperienced person to go into such an environment without some form of training and expectations of good practice. The same applies to handling dangerous chemicals. It is common sense to make sure those that do that type of job are highly qualified people with the knowledge that will keep them safe.

But do we really, really need health and safety on how to use a desk and chair properly? Do we need a whole training course dedicated to the correct use of a ladder? Apparently so! This is because no one wants to take personal responsibility for their actions anymore and any chance of making a quick buck that will also see them taking six months paid holiday from work and this is what leads companies to cover their backs with health and safety training.
About the Author
Employment expert Catherine Harvey looks at the way health and safety training has become such a neccessity in the workplace.
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