Health & Safety

In Britain, there exists a once valuable institution that was responsible for ensuring the health and safety of workers and employees. They did a good job, but there came a time when they had made safe all the dangerous jobs, and hazards became little more than numbers to be filled in as part of a Risk Assessment. With little to do, the Health & Safety Executive became the plaything of those who elect themselves into the position of “We know best”, and became a mockery of their former proud and valuable self, reduced to little less than a convenience.

Instead of being an institution that is widely respected, the Health & Safety Executive has become little more than a catchphrase, quoted whenever someone wants to prevent someone else from doing something, with the threat of some sort of legal action if they dare to continue. Of course, the real villain of the piece is ‘Political Correctness’, which tends to make a mockery of anything it touches.

Sadly, this now seems to arise whenever someone wants to so something that involves having fun, and has probably also gone on for years with little or no real danger.

Having worked with the Executive in the time before it was hijacked by the killjoys, when the activities we were concerned with could lead to rapid loss of life or limbs should some carelessness have been permitted, it seems there are more and more instances where the phrase “For Health & Safety Reasons” is spouted in order to halt some relatively harmless activity where there is no real need for a ‘Big Stick’ to be wielded. Listing these as they are seen seems reasonable, since some of the instances are close to unbelievable when referred to later.

Today’s example comes from an ancient game played anywhere the weather allows it. Here, they’re referred to as School Playground Slides, when the kids pack and slide on the frozen winter snow and ice of their school playgrounds, trying to see who can go longest and furthest. Of course, this is now seen as dangerous, as someone may slip and be injured. School caretakers have been instructed that all such creations are to be doused with salt and removed as soon as they appear, lest someone be injured. The reason given being the imposition of a ‘Duty of Care’ on the school over its pupil under Health & Safety legislation. This, of coure, places the school authorities in mortal fear of being sued if someone should be injured on their property. I wonder if they have the caretaker throw salt on slides just outside their property too, just in case someone slide outside, but lands inside, and injures themselves there?

Strangely, sliding can still be practiced in East Renfrewshire, where a spokesperson said: “There are no guidelines. Our children can go and slide.”

Makes you wonder how anyone made into adulthood nowadays.

To be clear, the REAL Health & Safety Executive is generally not directly involved with foolishness such as this, and is of itself a body that does much good work.

The problem arises when bodies, such as the local/school authorities referred to above, come up with some stupid restriction and then use the phrase “For Health and Safety Reasons” to give it credibility, relying on the ignorance of those on the receiving end not to recognise that they have used the phrase purely for fear effect, rather than any specific legislation that could be quoted if they were required to.

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