trust – tolerance – self-sufficiency
Whatever the intention behind the legislation that shaped the two unrelated words ‘health’ and ‘safety’ into this suffocating phrase, together with their companions, ‘duty of care’, and ‘risk assessment’, it has done more harm than good. Presumably it was the typically impractical Parliamentary idea that we can all be ‘made safe’, at all times, by following carefully drafted rules and being watched carefully. However, so stressful has dealing with ostensible safety requirements become that a more appropriate phrase would be ‘ill-health and safety’ and it would be interesting to know if ‘risk assessments’ have ever been made of the effects of this legislation on the health of those who have had to deal with its often preposterous requirements, and of the erosion of the concept of personal responsibility.
It has proved to be a green light for officious bureaucratic jobsworths, actively encouraged by timorous insurance companies and egregious lawyers. Perfectly rational adults have been forbidden to climb step-ladders because have not done a ‘safety course’, horrifically, police have stood by and watched people drown for the same reason. To call this madness is to understate the case. The difficulty arises because most so-called safety experts work on the principle that ‘might is right’, i.e. ‘this that or other might happen, therefore you can’t do it.’ This of course is fallacious – the reality is that almost anything might happen – that’s simple physics. What they should do is prepare a reasoned and calculated assessment of the likelihood of something happening, and then compare it with an acceptable risk. To take a very simple example, how many times a year do the employees of a company use step-ladders and how many serious accidents result? If this indicates a risk less than 1 in 24,000 which is that of being killed in a traffic accident and which we all happily accept, then no special action is needed.
HELP AND INFORMATION WANTED
- Details of the source legislation that has given such stifling force to ‘health and safety’ requirements.
- Analysis of the effectiveness of these requirements in reducing accidents, including the economic and social effects involved in the banning of long-established recreational and voluntary events.
- Examples of the destructive and/or arbitrary use of the legislation.
- Examples of decisions made and enforce without a proper risk analysis (see above)