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Health And Safety In The Extreme

Aug 7, 2008
Health and safety training will vary depending on the line of work you are in and everything from the blindingly obvious to the correct training on the use of certain equipment will be covered.

Working in an office is a pretty sedentary way of spending your day but the amount of accidents, injuries and ill health that occur because of workers not sticking to the rules learnt during their health and safety training is beyond acceptable. Anything involving incorrect use of VDU's to leaving trailing cables will be responsible for the accidents and injuries but all could be prevented if health and safety training were adhered to.

When it comes to the more obvious of dangerous situations and careers, such as fire-fighting, then health and safety training would be an accepted necessity. Of course, the correct use of equipment is standard training for firemen but there are other limits that they need to learn so as not to put themselves, their colleagues or the public at risk more than necessary. When you are working in a job that requires split second decisions, this is not always easy. When you are working in a situation that really is a matter of life or death, then it can be extremely difficult to hold back on health and safety grounds.

Of course, we are all aware that the UK has turned into something of a compensation culture these days and many companies and authorities are rightly concerned about having claims made against them in the event of an accident - even if no-one is to blame. Injury lawyers will always find someone to blame.

If you were up a ladder perched at an awkward angle carrying four ton of equipment in the rain and an accident occurred, most people would think that it was a silly thing to do and common sense would have prevented you from doing it. Therefore, it is your own fault. However, an injury lawyer would no doubt find a compensation claim in there if you had not been on a health and safety training course that told you not to go up the said ladder in such circumstances.

Sometimes, some unscrupulous lawyers will use the lack of health and safety knowledge to ease a compensation claim out of an organisation when the accident wasn't strictly their fault. However, that is the nature of British law in that there are no set rules for determining responsibility for so many things and it is open to interpretation from the judge on the day.

What is concerning when we look at the news these days, is the way our lives are now so restricted because of ludicrous health and safety laws. Schools, in particular, have to be so careful. Soft play areas with virtually one to one care, no climbing frames, no steps, all just in case a child hurts themselves. When I was younger, hurting yourself was part and parcel of learning your boundaries. How will they learn today?

The carers themselves all have to be health and safety trained. You cannot look after a child, work in a school, in fact, you cannot work anywhere unless you are fully conversant with health and safety but this is all due to our crazy compensation culture of recent years. Employers are very wary of getting fleeced for extortionate amounts of money and then losing their workers to months of recovery time for every slip or trip that should really come down to common sense.
About the Author
Training expert Catherine Harvey looks at the different areas of life where health and safety training is either essential or an added extra.
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