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The Country's Gone Crazy For Health And Safety

Jun 8, 2008
We can all site incidents where various problems have cropped up in society in the name of health and safety. It used to be that there were accidents, an unavoidable blip to life itself, would occur at public events and then the councils brought in health and safety training to combat this problem. And now it has all gone pear shaped and we are left with virtually no public events in the ridiculous name of health and safety regulations.

One woman is very unhappy about the implications of breaching health and safety training which resulted in the loss of her job. Working as a carer was a job this woman relished but health and safety training banned her from performing certain tasks outside of her designated work hours.

Unable to leave a helpless resident when it was very apparent the person was dying, this carer took it upon herself to help out in her own time. This, ultimately, led to her dismissal under the realm of gross misconduct. Now you could understand if she had shuffled the dying person into a corridor out of the way (oh, like the hospitals do!) or if she had simply refused to carry out her duties, but helping out of work hours?

The company she worked for say that she was not covered under their insurance for giving any type of assistance out or work hours and this could have led to a law suit against the firm should anything untoward of happened. So, where did common decency and common sense go to in all of this? Apparently, it simply doesn't come into it and rules is rules. The fact that nothing untoward did happen, other than a sick person gaining some help and comfort in their last hours, is irrelevant also.

Further to the above madness is the news that a Cambridge University have banned the age old tradition of throwing mortar boards in the air as part of the graduation ceremony. This is after one student was injured after one fell on him and all the health and safety training gurus for the event went into panic mode that they may get sued in our compensation era.

The hat was thrown into the air and after they landed one student needed stitches to a cut on his head. And in come the hat police to ban all throwing of soft, light objects in jubilation and merriment. Of course, jubilation and merriment is not something that is covered in health and safety training in the fear that people may develop minds of their own and do something silly, like lobbing a fish paste sandwich at someone else after the consumption of too much alcohol. Not as silly as it sounds - you could have someone's eye out with a fish paste sandwich if you're not careful.

More food based health and safety rubbish comes from Devon where fire crews have been banned from showing displays of what happens in the event of a chip pan fire. This display has been used for years in health and safety training as a means of showing people what can happen when cooking is left unattended. Chip pan fires are the biggest source of fire in the UK but are easily dealt with. These demonstrations save lives but because of the possibility that one day a demonstration may get out of hand, they have now been banned.

The authorities say they no longer want children to be shown how to deal with a fire, preferring them to get out. However, the chances are a child would try to deal with it anyway and get it wrong- with disastrous consequences. Why not teach them the right way to deal with it so they don't panic and possibly make the problem worse? Health and safety madness, that's why!
About the Author
Health and safety expert Catherine Harvey looks at some of the changes resulting from health and safety training at various events.
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