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Do we worry too much about health and safety?

09:18 UK time, Saturday, 2 October 2010

People should be able to challenge council decisions to ban events in case someone has an accident according to former Tory minister Lord Young. Is the current system flawed?

In his report, Lord Young claims that advice given by local authorities in England and Wales is often inconsistent. The Young Report also calls for advertising by personal injury lawyers and claims firms to be reviewed.

David Cameron who requested the review, has mentioned cases of children being told to wear goggles to play conkers, restaurants being banned from handing out toothpicks and trainee hairdressers being banned from using scissors, as examples of silly practice.

However, unions say the Tories are distorting facts about health and safety legislation for political ends.

Has the compensation culture created an atmosphere of fear? Have you faced problems organising events? Are you a local authority health and safety worker? Are you a solicitor?

Thank you for your comments. This debate is now closed.

Comments

Page 1 of 6

  • Comment number 1.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 2.

    Whilst the Health and Safety industry has undoubtedly saved many lives over years it has now driven itself into the dunces corner with over zealous legislation and lack of common sense rules.

    Live and let live and let people make certain decisions for themselves and their families.

    When my late mother was in a nursing home she was prevented by Health and Safety from being strapped into her seat (which on an aeroplane or a car is mandatary) and as a result sustained numerous injuries and broken bones which could so easily have been prevented. She still believed that she was capable of walking which she clearly was not but Health and Safety regulations decreed that she should be free to sustain injury or death in the pursuit of her human rights.

    Mad, mad world!

    Knownought

  • Comment number 3.

    Several years ago I worked at a main council office and one of my duties included ensuring that all the windows were closed at the end of play. The only problem that I had was that despite a ''Clear Desk' Policy being in force, the majority of the working area was cluttered with storage boxes, copiers and fax machines which obstructed access. An accident was waiting to happen and indeed it did, I fell and hit my arm resulting in a fracture. Yes, I made a claim and yes, I won despite the fact that even after years of devotion and loyalty, my employers tried to wriggle out of it and lay the blame on me.
    In recent years, H&S has gone from the sublime to the ridiculous but it comes as no surprise to me that many individuals will try to take advantage of any given situation purely because those responsible fail to hold their hands up in the first place.

  • Comment number 4.

    Health and Safety, what is this. Back thirty or so years ago, no one really took any notice of this. People did as they wanted and if one got hurt, so what, its no other business, than your own. Yes there should be guide lines for the complete Morons out there who have no idea how to conduct things to be safe, but for most of us we know not to touch fire and even how to launch fire works.

    This is just another example of an ever growing Nanny State. The Government wants to keep an eye on us all the time, they think we can not learn and live on our own.

    I was told by my council not to fly a 12ft flag for the football in my back garden, I went along with it anyhow. They said they had the powers to take it down, so I challenged them to do just that. I went to the council offices and told them that I had high fences in case it blew away, which it had not done in the past seven years and for them to tell me what a flag can do to harm others. Why not stop people hanging washing out to dry, like sheets. Same thing. They could not prove that it was un-safe and so I kept it up.

    The Government just don’t like us making decisions on our own; they have to be in control all the time.
    They want us to become like North Korea, a complete closed off Nanny State. Why? Well its simple, then they don’t have to answer to anyone else.

  • Comment number 5.

    I hate to agree with a Tory about anything but in this case I have to say he is right.
    Yes people need to be protected from negilgent authorities and employers but there needs to be an influx of common sense and responsibility take by everyone. There is no such thing as a risk free society, it is just no possible or even a good idea to remove all risk.
    But let's have common sense - if someone is on your property without your permission you should have no responsibility for their safety, common place actions e.g. conker fights should be subjected to no more restrictions in public events than happens normally.
    Health and safety advisors should be trained not to say you cannot do that because of the risk but to give advice and direction on how to reduce the risk e.g. if you go potholing there will be a risk all you should do is make sure that everyone is properly equiped and lead by a qualified person.
    The simple thing is accidents happen and providing no-one does anything blantantly negligent they should not be held to blame.
    I still don't like agreeing with a Tory though, it is just unnatural.

  • Comment number 6.

    Safety doesn't happen by accident.

  • Comment number 7.

    If I read this correctly in that common sense is to prevail then it will get my vote.

    The more we try to keep people safe the more at risk they will become. I am already teaching my young grandchildren how to carry and pass objects like knives and scissors and how to use them safely.

    We need to get back to basics.

    If a young lad climbs onto a roof of a building and falls through killing or maiming himself then we shouldn’t be asking what were the failures of the owners of the building but what was the lad doing there in the first place and was he explicitly authorised to be there.

    I am only authorised to be on my allotment from dawn to dusk but if I left a hole into which someone fell during the night I could be sued for negligence even though the allotments are securely fenced and the gate locked.

    Start making people responsible for their own actions and stop the parasitic litigation culture.

  • Comment number 8.

    re#2 Sorry for spelling error/typo I really do know how to spell mandatory, honest!

    P.S. Care workers at the same home were not allowed to breaking a fall so old people were legally allowed to fall over and break their very fragile bones even when it could have been prevented. At least they were allowed to feed their patients which is more than nurses do in hospital wards. Don't shoot the messenger, I've had to feed my own starving mother after she had been admitted to an NHS hospital ward.

    Knownought

  • Comment number 9.

    Health and Safety has only *gone too far* until it is you or a member of your family who has their lives disrupted or worse by stupid or careless behaviour. Then the very people who bemoan the regulations on sites such as this will be the first ones clamouring at the court room door, looking for compensation.

  • Comment number 10.

    Finally, the end beginning of the end of the Tony Blair, mamby pamby, nanny state.

  • Comment number 11.

    " 3. At 09:44am on 02 Oct 2010, Joseph lennon wrote:
    Several years ago I worked at a main council office and one of my duties included ensuring that all the windows were closed at the end of play. The only problem that I had was that despite a ''Clear Desk' Policy being in force, the majority of the working area was cluttered with storage boxes, copiers and fax machines which obstructed access. An accident was waiting to happen and indeed it did, I fell and hit my arm resulting in a fracture. Yes, I made a claim and yes, I won despite the fact that even after years of devotion and loyalty, my employers tried to wriggle out of it and lay the blame on me.
    In recent years, H&S has gone from the sublime to the ridiculous but it comes as no surprise to me that many individuals will try to take advantage of any given situation purely because those responsible fail to hold their hands up in the first place."

    So the council employee somone to shut the windows cant the employees do this themselves!!

    Suggests managers at the council were ineffective in enforcing H&S policy on clear desks - no doubt a word by a manager to an employee repeatedly ignoring the guidelines on the matter would require a formal meeting, union reps and all associated bureaucracy

    Did the person who caused the accident get disciplined - I doubt it


  • Comment number 12.

    Health and safety has got completely out of hand.

  • Comment number 13.

    As it stands today health and safety is a complete and utter joke and makes a mockery out of common sense. The only winners are ambulance chasing corrupt law firms, so any change must result in these cowboy outfits being closed down as well as the restoration of common sense.

  • Comment number 14.

    Fear of litigation is the driving force behind most councl's"advice"and
    I would not wish to see my local taxes wasted on dubious compensation claims.The legal professions are responsible for this nonsense and are in need of far tighter control.

  • Comment number 15.

    Common sense screams that the Health & Safety rules are flawed. The system has been dreamt up by people in what I call ''NON JOBS''
    The sad part is that their superiors endorse these suggestions and society suffers. Our children are growin up with this ''nanny state'' culture and will now go through life with the inability to think or extend themselves to their maximum ability.

  • Comment number 16.

    Alleluia,at last!! Some has noticed the ridiculous and stupid way this country has gone with PC. Get on with quick before all the normal thinking people emmigrate. Next start on the stupid human rights law that lets everybody except victims get away with absolute murder (often literally).
    At the same time lets get back to freedom of speech and expression without someone(with a vested interest) jumping down your throat as soon as you say something that whilst true may not be to their liking.

  • Comment number 17.

    The insanity of political correctness has gone on long enough and should be abolished as soon as possible. Nothing is more guaranteed to enrage myself and my husband is the idiotic and stupid thinking behind so many of the laws which were enforced by New Labour over the past 13 years.

    Our children have become incapable of enjoying themselves without 'someone from the council' interfering with stupid reasons that are laughable but are being forced through.

    I wonder about the Health and Safety rulings, some jobsworth will invoke H&S when it is totally out of order, but in other instances when Health and Safety should be followed it is ignored.

    It is about time commonsense returns, I could relay so many instances where Health and Safety have been invoked to the detriment of the person/s involved it would fill the columns of this site. I was totally unaware that trainee hairdressers are not allowed to use scissors, I hope this is not true, as how are they supposed to train as good hairdressers. I am going to check with my hairdresser to see if this a fact, and yet another madness.

    As for the compensation culture which rewards the greedy and those with avaricious lawyers in the background in comparison with the under-compensated wounded soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan this is the most odious outcome.

    It is a terrible analogy, but being hit by a conker and asking for compensation, makes a mockery of a the terrible wounds being sustained by our brave soldiers who get nowhere the same sums of money.

    Lord Young is voicing the opinions of thousands of people in the UK who are thoroughly fed up with the situation. You certainly do not have to be Tory or Labour to want to change this madness and again political correctness is casting this as some deep political motivation. Just goes to show how crazy it all is.

    Come back commonsense all is forgiven!

  • Comment number 18.

    The Health and Safety laws were alteady a shambles because of its much renowned phrase "Where practicably possible." Far to many companies got away with literally murder because of it. but when it was linked to Politically Correctness, The worlds bane, the Health and Safety Act became totally shambolic. The sooner that phrase is removed from the health and safety act and Politically Correctness is consigned to the waste bin the sooner this world will again become logical.

  • Comment number 19.

    I live in Germany and my German friends find British people's fear of doing anything both puzzling and hilarious (the Germans actually do have a sense of humour!).

    I remember when my family first got here 8 years ago. We were amazing to see young kids going to school and playgrounds on their own. Kids in the first year riding bicycle to school. Kids at the school fete happily helping the parents at the BBQ. For Germans getting the odd cut and burn is part of growing up and part of learning. It used to be that way with Brits as well.


  • Comment number 20.

    Hopefully this is a start. The problem is it's generally the Insurance Companies dictating whether an event should be held, or the Authorities' fears that in this increasingly litigious world someone somewhere will sue them if someone falls over or whatever.
    It has come about because - like sheep - we have followed the Americans in allowing ridiculous claims for compensation to be heard in courts instead of telling someone that accidents happen. Why is it now that any time something untoward happens, immediately the "victim" goes running to the phone to ring the compensation solicitors? Here the rub folks - if you slip over, too bad - you should be watching where you're going.
    I think it's fair to say we have a very high regard for genuine H&S in this country.

    As an aside, I remember reading about a local council somewhere a few years ago who fenced off a conker tree to stop people walking under it "in case they got hit on the head by a falling conker".This is the sort of stupid idea that needs to be scrapped.

    I think everyone knows the dog in the microwave scenario...

  • Comment number 21.

    3. At 09:44am on 02 Oct 2010, Joseph lennon wrote:
    Several years ago I worked at a main council office and one of my duties included ensuring that all the windows were closed at the end of play. The only problem that I had was that despite a ''Clear Desk' Policy being in force, the majority of the working area was cluttered with storage boxes, copiers and fax machines which obstructed access. An accident was waiting to happen and indeed it did, I fell and hit my arm resulting in a fracture. Yes, I made a claim and yes, I won despite the fact that even after years of devotion and loyalty, my employers tried to wriggle out of it and lay the blame on me.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    It may surprise you to know that YOU have a responsibility under H&S too. If the windows were inaccessible YOU should have referred it to your manager and H&S representative. To try and reach and put yourself in obvious danger could have resulted in YOU being fined too. Get a grip!

  • Comment number 22.

    If I sweep away the snow and ice from the font of my home I have made the path safer, but if a person slips where I have cleaned it, I can be taken to court!. Therefor I an putting myself at risk by making the area safer!
    Sheer madness!!

  • Comment number 23.

    Lord Young seems to be intent on creating more bureaucracy, not less.
    BTW, where does the story about trainee hairdressers not being allowed to use scissors come from? I've tried to look it up on the internet and found nothing.

  • Comment number 24.

    We live in a compensation culture and until it is shaken up councils, employers etc will use the current H&S Legislation to protect themselves.
    The laws governing H&S need to be changed to stop individuals who have accidents and then claiming outrageous amounts with the assistance of solicitors who of course get their cut. There is of course the non accident for which claims are made and there are either no witnesses or witnesses who claim to have seen exactly what happened.

    However, most accidents are caused by the fault and or negligence of AN Other.

  • Comment number 25.

    Yes.

    Although Lord Young is proposing to restrict success fees, he does not go far enough. There should be no additional fees beyong normal legal costs if a claimant wins. Furthermore, if a claimant loses, backed by ambulance chasing lawyers, then he and they should jointly have to pay the defendant party's costs. They brought the action and should pay for it.

    I would go further and say that where legally-aided people are suing someone and lose then they and the Legal Aid Fund should pay the costs. It is quite outrageous that innocent defendants are landed with enormous costs, the prospect of which causes many of them to settle out of court.

  • Comment number 26.

    There has to be some provision in legislation somewhere for something called "common sense".

    (So, for example, people can't be sued because they didn't put a "may contain nuts" sticker on a bag of peanuts, or a "may be hot" label on a cup of coffee.)

  • Comment number 27.

    Joseph lennon's comment (3.)has been quoted completely out of context.

  • Comment number 28.

    I'm a fire fighter of nearly 28 years; in that time H&S has gone mad. This is an example of a 4 pump (fire engines) fire. In days gone by this would have been dealt with by 1, possibly 2 pumps with 8-10 firemen. (Today. 2 pumps, 10 men.) 1 ff after 20 mins has to be doing Analytical Risk Assessments, for such mundane things as, "trip hazards" "traffic conditions" ground conditions, etc. are grown men and women we know how to look after ourselves!! Up to 4 ff's to be used as "sector commanders" Basically stood around doing absolutely nothing about putting the fire out, but looking good in their surcoats telling someone how the fire is looking from their respective positions on the ground. So, up to now, 20 mins into the fire and already we have half the team doing no work fighting the fire.
    Safety officer, he walks around the fire ground looking for dangerous occurrences, and practices so he can tell the guy doing the ARA of dangerous possibilities!!!
    Incident commander, the guy in charge. To be fair he never did have much involvement in the fire as he's in charge and has to have an overview of the whole incident.
    Pump operator, this is usually the driver whose job is to ensure the guys at the sharp end have enough water at the right pressure at the right time (very important job).
    Breathing Apparatus Entry Control Officer. (Probably, the most important job on the fire ground.) He's job is to make sure the guys in BA are safe, and come out of the fire at the correct time, or he has to send an emergency team
    So 10 ff's started but 9 are involved in other work 7 H&S, and 2 doing really important jobs, leaving 1 putting the fire out.
    Obviously 1 man can't do all the fire fighting so the answer is to make the pumps up. So 2 more fire engines arrive with 10 more FF'S on board and the whole debacle starts again.
    Water officer to make sure we have enough “water"
    Equipment officer making sure we have enough "equipment"
    I'm sure you can see were this is leading, the more we get the more they find jobs not directly involved in fire fighting for them.
    And finally the "Pièce de résistance" we get an IIO.
    What is an IIO? You may well ask
    An......."Incident Intelligence Officer" Talk about a contradiction in term!! A guy who wanders aimlessly from job to job, looking...well, intelligent really! He certainly has nothing to do with putting the fire out anyway.
    Health and Safety gone mad. I rest my case

  • Comment number 29.

    No.

    We have too many people with an over inflated sense of entitlement that look for someone to blame whenever an accident occurs and lack a sense of personal responsibility. And of course we have too many blood-sucking lawyers that encourage them.

  • Comment number 30.

    Suddenly I love this government! First article on the BBC says the stupid no touching rule in class will be scrapped then the next article says the ridiculous health & safety rules are going to be wound down. If they do as they say I will definitely vote Tory next time - wind back the nanny state and give people their freedom. Great!

  • Comment number 31.

    No, we do not worry too much over health and safety. It is those who have self appointed themselves as our guardians who claim they are responsible for safety but do everything to avoid accepting responsibility for anything. Managers always say they get paid their large salaries as they have large responsibilities, but I have yet to see any manager doing anything but dedicating all their time to avoid being held accountable for anything. They just want to ban everything that could possibly be conceived as their responsibility.

  • Comment number 32.

    If we spent as much money on safety equipment and safety training as we do on safety committee meetings, safety paperwork and safety officials then we would be a much safer society.

    If we punished employers who cause death and injury to their employees by neglect or the failure to provide safety training, or safety equipment or a safe working environment to the same degree that we punish those who steal or damage property (especially that belonging to the rich and famous) then we would have a lot less to worry about.

  • Comment number 33.

    Funny how Health & Safety and 'PC' have all come to mean the same thing in the minds of the indignant Daily Mail reading middle englanders.
    I'm getting fed up with David Cameron and his ministers making meaningless headline grabbing statements that are designed to appeal to popular opininion. These pronouncements are just trying to divert attention from their real agenda of cuts that will decimate public services and hit the poor and vulnerable in society.

  • Comment number 34.

    The rules and regulations were brought in as a consequence of litigation being brought against organisations were accidents have happened at their event. If little Johnny broke his leg on a school outing, mummy and daddy would sue the school/teachers. If little Johnny broke his leg whilst at home, who sued mummy and daddy?

  • Comment number 35.

    There's 2 kinds of Health and Safety.


    1. There's the first kind, the often overlooked kind: Which is utilised by businesses and organisations to make micro-changes in policy and behaviour to prevent injuries that are very much preventable, and save money, thus helping the economy.

    2. The other kind, the one always in the papers. Is the intrusive kind where things are banned solely because something bad could happen. This kind I blame on accident lawyers and people who want money for their own stupid actions.


    Unfortunately it's difficult to legislate for a case where a company had a bad/no manual handling policy, causing employees to get routine injuries, compared to somebody tripping over on a company's property because they're assuming that every paved surface is perfectly flat for some reason.

    I am 100% for limiting type 2 and hope that the only thing clumsy people get is a sore lesson!
  • Comment number 36.

    I don't agree with much that the government says or does but on this point I agree that things are a mess and needs sorting out in the interests of all of us.

  • Comment number 37.

    I'm not sure this has been thought through. Councils often ban events because if someone is hurt they may have to pay large compensation claims which fall on council tax payers.Compensation lawyers advertise to provide services within the law of this country. Michael Gove wants to stop this but hasn't said the law will be changed which is the root of the problem and probably difficult to do when so many politicians are ex lawyers. As a matter of interest is he going to get the law on motorcycle helmets and seatbelts which I think were both brought in by the Tories. I'm not suggesting this should be done of course just pointing out what seems to be a contradiction.
    Some things do need to be improved as they always do but this seems to be just anti Labour.
    Just to show Michael Gove doesn't think things through this is from an interview with Andrew Marr.

    MICHAEL GOVE:

    Well to my mind, you cannot have a school which teaches creationism. And one thing that we will make absolutely clear is that you cannot have schools which are set up, which teach people things which are clearly at variance with what we know to be scientific fact.

    I, and I'm sure Richard Dawkins would love to see the scientific evidence regarding God and the beliefs of all the other faiths who have and will run schools.

  • Comment number 38.

    I am disappointed that the BBC should, on its home page, link to an article that begins with "David Cameron has commissioned Lord Young to lead a review into health and safety laws, such as restaurants banning toothpicks, a pancake race where contestants were asked to walk because of rain".

    The first item is just factually incorrect. There is no health and safety law which bans toothpicks; if a restaurant decides not to provide toothpicks, whatever the assumed reason, it is not a law.

    The second is simply an attempt to ridicule by association. If it had been reported as "it was recommended that competitors did not run because the ground was very slippery due to rain" it would not even be a news item (and most people would have thought of it as sensible advice).

    The fact is that the Health and Safety at Work act has had a major influence on the improvement of safety in the factory and the workplace. It mainly requires employers (and employees) to consider whether they are suitably skilled and equipped to perform the tasks required by their job, and can execute those tasks without an unreasonable risk to the health and safety of themselves, other employees and the public.

    It appears to me that the current propensity to look for someone to blame (someone to sue) whenever we are hurt or inconvenienced, has more to do with institutions such as councils, schools and even restaurants attempting to prevent anyone from doing the least damage to themselves by bringing in these “silly” rules.

    Continual references to schoolchildren not being allowed to play conkers, whether real or apocryphal, and the chorus of derision this generally invokes prevents a sensible discussion of the situation. We must separate these issues in the discussion and not confuse the actions of those who are trying to guard themselves from liability for accidents by banning all activities that might lead to an accident, instead of giving suitable information and advice on the risks involved, with the Health and Safety at Work act and the work of the Health and Safety Executive.



  • Comment number 39.

    Health and Safety is not to blame - H&S legislation has not changed much in the past 20 years. It is the rise of the compensation culture that has led to everyone covering their back and not wanting to take a risk for fear of being sued. As a Deputy Head I have to grapple with this daily - trying to close every possible loophole and consider every possible eventuality. It is not surprising that so many people/councils/organisations simply forbid activities rather than risk having to fork out compensation. Lord Young is spot on, as was Ranulph Fiennes earlier this week: target the ambulance chasing companies and the attitude of many that someone else is always to blame and there may be a few quid in it.

  • Comment number 40.

    Do we worry too much about health and safety?

    LOL.

    £billions of cuts to public services, policing, military, social services, probation, education, care services, etc etc I think answers the question.

  • Comment number 41.

    A couple of weeks ago I served on a Jury at Cardiff Crown Court. When one serves on a Jury, you are allocated up to £5.71 a day for food, and are issued with a credit type card to give to the people serving, who deduct the cost of the meal from it. At the begining of the day you can pre-order your lunch, which can save time queing at lunchtime. Anyway, this all worked very well until it came to the day of coming to the verdict, when the Jury is locked in the Jury Room next to the Court, where we were handed forms to fill out for lunch - sandwiches, crisps - that sort of thing only. When I pointed out to the Usher that I had pre-ordered lunch (faggots & mushy peas - I know!) she told me that because of H&S rules, she & no-one else was allowed to carry hot food along the corridors to us, and obviously I couldn't leave the Jury Room! In the end I had to swap my order for a sandwich, and left to curse what I felt to be petty H&S regulations. Oh well.

  • Comment number 42.

    On the subject of regulating peronal injury lawyers' advertising, a good start would be to order these companies to point out that the 100% compensation they claim goes to the litigant ONLY APPLIES IN ENGLAND AND WALES - 25% IS SKIMMED OFF BY THE LAWYERS IN SCOTLAND!

  • Comment number 43.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 44.

    Before slating HSE for the rigmarole surrounding public events, it would be a good idea to read the Event Management Document Template (available free on line) first!

    The first thing which the site says about it is that it is not the LAW, but a document, which if implemented, will make the progress to the event much easier!

    In fighting an idiot, who wanted to put on Music Festivals with no consideration for residents, I had occasion, twice, to use the document as a resource, from which to extract issues of concern to those affected.

    These were argued out in the planning process and the Organiser was duly forced to heed the problems of residents living beside the site.

    The whole thing is based on the best practice from such major events as the Notting Hill Carnival and Glastonbury. It is full of commonsense planning guidance........... there for the guidance of wise men and the obedience of fools.........

    I have used the HSE guidance for public event planning myself and always found the Local HSE very helpful in ensuring we put on a well presented and SAFE "do"!

    The current announcement is nothing but playing to the gallery. It has always been the case that Event Managers can protest and negotiate HSE issues, which do not apply....... and there are plenty which can be safely overlooked.

    The main problems with Event Management Planning do not arise from HSE considerations, but Policing and Emergency issues. The Police, Fir and Ambulance Services can and will take a perceived unsafe event to the courts, if necessary. In other instances, where, large amounts of Police and Emergency resources are needed, the budget (for these things must be paid for) normally stops them.

  • Comment number 45.

    The "health and safety" mindset, which I see as a devotion to form-filling with comfort derived from a set of ticked boxes, isn't a recent phenomenon. My first experience of it was as a teacher in the mid-1970s when bomb threats weren't that uncommon. A circular came from the LEA, detailing the action to be taken if the school had a telephone bomb threat.

    You'd have thought the circular would have said, briefly and clearly, something like : "get the children and staff out of the building quickly and calmly, taking them to a safe place hundreds of yards away". That's what we would have done anyway, as responsible teachers

    But most of the several pages were devoted to instructions like : "keep the caller on the phone" - "try to establish the regional accent of the caller" - "ask where the caller is" - "ask the caller for his or her name" - truly! Evacuation of children and staff scarcely featured.

    The instructions ignored the obvious fact that, whilst the caller was being engaged in fascinating conversation, the bomb warning would not have been passed on and no evacuation would have started. As teachers, we decided that we wouldn't follow such ridiculous instructions which, we agreed, could put lives at risk.

    But LEA officials patently thought that acquiring information to complete some central tick box form was a more important duty for teachers than taking immediate sensible action to protect children.

  • Comment number 46.

    Is Britain still broken?

  • Comment number 47.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 48.

    I wonder how many commentators on here have actually read what Lord Young is suggesting? He talks about creating MORE laws, MORE rules and MORE regulations!

    If we do have a problem with "Health and Safety" at the moment, it's fear of litigation. And who is increasingly turning to the law? It's us, the general public, and so long as there are people who wont take responsibility for their own actions we'll have others protecting themselves from claims.

    Young and Cameron can make as many speeches as they like and provide the Daily Mail with headline sound-bites, but in the end they'll either create more red-tape and bureaucracy or quietly let the matter drop. I expect they'll take the latter course.

  • Comment number 49.

    In my opinion these laws should have been thrown out years ago. The situation is the HSO is full of retired union bosses, who are only interested in promoting their own employment and spend all their days trying to make running a business for profit untenable.
    Some of the things they come up with are totally ridiculous, as with the politically correct lobbyists. Our country, in particular,England, has been ruined, our sense of humour has been murdered by these people. Forward and onward the coalition, may a labour government never return.

  • Comment number 50.

    Having spent the whole of my working life in the public sector, I may only observe that Health & Safety, allied to its running dog Political Correctness, represents the the beating heart of this nation's massively-successful Shirker's and Jobsworth's Charter.
    An unimaginable number of incompetent and lazy people hide beneath the chitinous carapace of this dreadful and prevailing culture.

  • Comment number 51.

    Well, as DC rightly says, first you have to tackle the Ambulance chasing lawyers who are the ones who have created the fear of not being squeaky clean on H&S. If they can be curbed, then everything else he (and most of us) wants, will follow.

    I'm afraid that over-implementation is a disease of human society though. Things that start off with useful intentions tend to balloon beyond the point of usefulness. If a downsizing of H&S regulations were to become a trend, that too would be over implemented and we'd be hearing stories of people being exposed to stupid dangers at work as they have been in the past through a paucity of H&S regulation.

    Alas the pendulum of human affairs never stops in the middle!

    Alan T

  • Comment number 52.

    Health and Safety law today, North Korean totalitarian state tomorrow...

  • Comment number 53.

    Yes there is too much fuss over Health and Safety, it's gained a status of being taboo to touch or disagree with anything that is branded under H&S. In fact ironically most rulings are not about the safety or welfare of people its about protecting themselves from litigation.
    The best way to start addressing this is to terminate the insane rulings from courts awarding money to people who are too feckless to accept responsibility for their own stupidity.
    Get away from the ambulance chasing court cases and the Accidents R Us law firms and maybe people can return to normal activities and stop looking for someone else to blame and sue.

  • Comment number 54.

    Imagine a group of men digging an 8 meter deep well. Two dig the shaft by hand, using a hand pulled bucket to remove the spoil. When they finished, a method of lowering reinforced concrete rings was constructed using odd scraps of wood. They did not have a pulley system, but found a length of scaffolding tube to wind the various lengths of rope and anything else that could be tied together. With this the very heavy concrete rings were lowered into place.

    Those involved in this work were working without safety harnesses and even footwear.

    The well was completed on time without a single accident. Obviously it was not in this country. But it happened just three years ago.

    If they knew the nonsense we have to deal with in this country, they would laugh their heads off.

    Of course there is a need for some health & safety rules. But we have gone over the top. Goodness knows how we have managed to survive this long without all these rules. Yet here we are, and it is rules that are having a negative effect on modern society. We have survived. We were allowed to use our common sense when we did a thing. But now we have to deal with jobs-worths who really are merely justifying their own worthless existence.

    So go for it Dave, Let us get back to common sense living.

    But, I won't hold my breath.

  • Comment number 55.

    Life involves risk and choices. Noone is suggesting that there should not be strong H&S legislation to protect workers but it grew into other areas where it has lacked balance. I am not surpriswed this was not curbed under Labout because of their ideology that the State must be the centre of everyone's universe and is there to run all aspects of your life. Fortunately, that is not the British view.

  • Comment number 56.

    Less Health and Safety? Yes please, it's now gotten to the point where I, as a student Doctor, can no longer carry out supervised medical procedures such as placing an IV line for fluids, (a job that any junior doctor will be called into do from day 1 of the job, possibly in an emergency). So I can't learn when I'm in safe, supervised conditions, but the government expect me to carry this out fluently as soon as I graduate!

  • Comment number 57.

    Maybe, just maybe the tory want to remove any safety net that’s left so as they can carry out works with contractors that treat their workers like dogs and lie through there teeth in protesting that they have followed the correct guidelines and of course are supported by the law.
    Within my last workplace I was promoted specifically to ensure that the water services conformed to the regulations. The senior managers sent in their contractor manager who was to cause the death and suffering of many individuals. Before the crackpot done what he done I warned of the dangers(concerning LD.) if carrying out the work he insisted on being done. The vile creature connived with my own lying dirty rat of a manager to have me sacked. Be wary of the dirty tory but remember the labour are as rotten. As for the nauseous lib, they would and have sold their souls to become peers.

  • Comment number 58.

    Cameron and his ilk talk a load of rubbish, I am sick to death of ill informed people spouting about health and safety and the comments about silly rules which are unfounded do not help anyone.

    Industry kills and maims people and ruins lives that is a fact.

    People are quite rightly entitled to claim for injuries where they are owed a duty of care, where that duty of care was breached and the individual injured as a result people are entitled to take out a civil claim under civil law which is not set by parliament thankfully.

    The problem is the system is being abused by those making claims for anything and everything when in most cases it was their own fault. The real culprits are the solicitors representing these people who should know better.

    If companies do not have the right advise and guidance they are at the mercy of the civil courts and lose these claims resulting in higher insurance premiums.

    Fear of litigation is the main reason for a lot of the rules put in place mainly by people not qualified to do so.

    This not the fault of health and safety, it is about time the lambasting stopped and was redirected at those making money on the back of no win no fee claims.

    The cost to the economy of industrial injuries runs to the billions every year in lost time, down time, accident investigation and paying out civil claims not to mention the pain and suffering.

    On the other hand health and safety is a management function and not something bolted on - if managed correctly by competent people good health and safety is cost effective and will save organisations money.

    That is also a fact unlike most of the issues identified as health and safety gone mad.



  • Comment number 59.

    I agree with the person who said the HSE were not to blame. I work in a laboratory, and health and safety rules are there for very VERY good reasons. However, I have worked with a number of lecturers who think practical demonstrations in the classroom are 'banned' because no technician or head of department before was willing to put the proper safeguards in place.

    Very little in schools in actually banned, its a case of being sensible. Too many people clamp down on activities through fear of being sued and then blame health and safety rather than stand aup and take responsibility for that decision themselves. I don't blame them, ambulance chasers and libel cases have made people afraid of being responsible to do or say or allow ANYTHING.

  • Comment number 60.

    It would seem entirely proper to be worried about ones health and safety and the same for others we may observe doing crazy things - it is not proper to use laws and rules to make money from these situations or to curb persons or activities we may not like.

    Like so much else in la la land all balance and sense has been lost.

  • Comment number 61.

    ££££££££ compensation culture ££££££££,nothing new there then.

  • Comment number 62.

    I am frankly staggered by the numerous assumptions that majority of the British public have any common sense whatsoever. They run, sheeplike, after every trend, inane comment and idiot celebrity they see.

  • Comment number 63.

    Curbing ambulance-chasing lawfirms is a very good start to ending the culture of trying to find someone else to blame, and to seek compensation from, for every misadventure in life.

  • Comment number 64.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 65.

    This can't happen soon enough. Part of the reason I didn't clear the snow last winter was because if anyone slipped on the part I had cleared, then next I'd hear is a summons from one of these scam-4-u lawyers.

    The simple fact these days, is if you are one of the idiots who clear snow and anyone falls (not necessarily on the bit you clear) then who'll they going to sue?

    I suppose the other way this effects me is that I no longer run a voluntary camp to help to charity work. I don't see why I should worry lest anyone has an accident and .... who'll they going to sue? THE IDIOT WHO GOT LUMBERED ORGANISING THE EVENT!

  • Comment number 66.

    Whilst there is undoubtably a place for health and service in certain environments there are situations where there is no balance with common sense.

    Fortunately our Borough Council still allows the local Scout Group to organise the community fireworks year on year and its a key annual event.

    Fire, fireworks, tent guy ropes, sparklers, hundreds of people - lots of potential hazards but it still goes on.

    A victory for common sense because the organisers demonstrate they take precautions to make the situation safe.

  • Comment number 67.

    In Lancaster we have a very large annual fireworks display at the castle, which attracts thousands of visitors to the town centre every year. It is one of the highlights of the tourist calender and has been run in the same way for over 15 years and no member of the public has ever been hurt.

    This year however, the city council have decided on the grounds of health and safety that no one will be allowed to view the event from the city centre, and they must now walk to a viewing area in a local park 1 mile away!

    They are shifting thousands of people out of the city centre who spend large amounts of money in the local resteraunts, bars, and shops just on the grounds of health and safety. The changes are based purely on a theoretical risk.
    Tourism is a growth industry in this town and decisions like this made by blinkered local authorities are like commiting economic suicide. It's mad!

  • Comment number 68.

    21, and 27. No, it is comes as no surprise to me that I to have a responsibility to my employer under H&S. Although not employed in that field I am aware of the responsibilities we all have to each other. Last week I found a plastic wedge stuck under a fire door by someone that had obviously forgotten their pass and just couldn't be bothered to obtain a temporary one. We had a fire several years ago that brought the building down in 15 minutes flat. Yes, it was reported, but my point is, what exactly do they do about it, in most cases nothing. Are far as being out of context (27), well I agree I may be a little off track and as a middle aged man with my fair share of scars from falling off some ones wall, I have to say that previous governments have turned this country in to a state of fear of litigation, as a result I long ago quit as an athletics coach.

  • Comment number 69.


    * 6. At 10:00am on 02 Oct 2010, Magi Tatcher wrote:

    "Safety doesn't happen by accident."

    Magi, you are my all time favourite poster. You always bring a smile to my face.

    Knownought

  • Comment number 70.

    What a load of tosh some people have written here.

    The main drivers for the "elf and safety" culture have been the insurance companies and the courts. Public bodies have run scared of litigation and adopted a necessarily risk-averse approach caused by the threat of ICs not to insure and some remarkably silly judgements by the courts (remember the intruder who injured himself on a closed, private premises and won a claim because the court ruled that "keep out" signs weren't enough?).

    Risk professionals will relish the prospect of exercising professional judgement in risk management rather than being bound by the dead hand of corporate negativity resulting from the wholly defensive attitude resulting from the self-serving interests of the insurance and legal sectors.

    Negligence will still result in legal action; however, it is entirely correct that people should take responsibility for their own actions. There is no law against stupidity (unless it becomes recklessness) and so there should be no legal comeback on a third party because of an individual's stupidity. At long last, we may see an end to claims against public bodies because paving slabs are a few millimetres out of alignment- even though the claimant was half cut at the time of the alleged incident!

    Come on, Cameron, put this into effect and allow risk managers to manage risk rather than being forced to make seemingly stupid decisions because of the fear of litigation. Perhaps H&S will finally be seen as a reasonable and necessary part of life in this country rather than the standing joke it currently is.

  • Comment number 71.

    The Health & Safety Executive needs to take a long hard look at itself.

    For example - an old Council classified 'light industrial unit'; large and full of asbestos is being demolished, without legal damping down with water, near homes that have been built subsequently during the decades that unit was built.

    The Council say contact H&S - the H&S say contact Council.

    That, ultimately is reckless and actionable - but what's the point - too busy stopping a pancake races et al.

  • Comment number 72.

    "common sense is a grey area"?

    Is this a sneaky way of the ultra religous, trying to remove the concept of Evolution from us?

  • Comment number 73.

    Good & sane initiative. People must learn to avoid dangers themselves otherwise they end up as zombies. The best lesson is a bad experience.

  • Comment number 74.

    We should all go to Poland, where there are hundreds of 'potential dangers'.

    It was oddly liberating to be told, 'If you step over the fence, onto the railway track and are run over by the train, it will be a good lesson for you, that railways are dangerous'

  • Comment number 75.

    Isn't it nice to see the tabloid press determining government policy! This has led to the current ridiculous position on Health and Safety.
    The Health and Safety at Work Etc Act was introduced in 1974. Although secondary regulations have been revamped since, the basic law has not.

    Health and Safety is often used as an excuse by upset organisers rather than by enforcement authority. The example of the Cheese Rolling Event is a fine example. It comes from legislation created after stadium disasters such as the Ibrox disaster. I and the organisers should be concerned about 15,000 people on a steep grass slope particularly in wet weather. The risk of crush or fall is very great and sufficient emergency services cover must be available. I believe the issue with the event was that the local ambulance service could not guarantee appropriate cover in case of emergency.

    Items such as the school banning conkers if the kids didn't wear goggles is an extreme over reaction by a head teacher who does not understand the appropriate use of risk assessment. This was not a decision by health and safety officials.

    In general, the law is common sense. The organiser risk assesses the event and identifies possible risks. They should then ensure that reasoable and appropriate checks are put in place to prevent or minimise the risk.

    Ther are obviously silly exalpmes such as the banning of conkers which are widely advertised but what about cases that go the other way where bad risk assessment has led to death or injury?

    For example the school bus crass where the school trip to Alton Towers went ahead despite one of the worst blizzards in recent memory or the girl who was killed when the army did not provide the correct size life jacket?

    Risk assessment is not only their to protect users, it is also there to protect the organiser. By carrying out an appropriate risk assessment, they are providing evidence of their reasonable precautions and due diligence.

    The law reflects that for some activities there will always be risks. If you take a group hillwalking there is always a risk of bad weather. You can minimise the risk by making appropriate plans, telling someone your route and taking appropriate clothing and equipment but the risk of injury will still remain, although diminished.

    I believe this review is a big smoke screen and most legislation will remain unaffected. What is being attacked is not the law but the reaction to the law which comes from incorrect reporting, public and professional ignorance and a lack of common sense

  • Comment number 76.

    I'm all in favour of 'health and safety' but not 'Health and Safety'!
    It is right that we should ensure that people, particularly children, are safe in their activities but the rules, and especially their interpretation, have gone too far.

  • Comment number 77.

    Yes, Health & Safety has gone too far. People should learn to think about and take responsibility for their own actions rather than relying on someone else to do it for them. If you fall over a box, it is YOUR fault for not looking were you are going.

  • Comment number 78.

    The benefits of health and safety legislation far out weigh the contrary position, To a degree it has gone a little crazy but the means to seek regress from incompetent or wilfully negligent employers/ businesses still remains. It has traditionally been the position of the conservatives to give business what ever it wants.
    So expect
    european human rights act to be attacked
    European Employment laws to be blamed and attacked
    Health and safety laws to be attacked and blamed
    Blame unions for "action" taken as a result of unfair employer policy/wage change.
    blame minimum wage for harming small business's
    blame the unemployed for not having a job, despite having closed down the manufacturing base and outsourcing millions of jobs to india and allowing unchecked migration of unskilled labour from eastern europe.
    blame the unemployed for not having a job and sponging off society at the same time claim £140'000 in expenses and dont forget to put lunch on account.

    The mentality of these people is sickening,
    blame the poor,
    blame the sick,
    blame the disabled,
    blame laws that protect people and cost our rich business sponsors

  • Comment number 79.

    A lot of the stories are just that - but there are some daft rules that need getting rid of - the photocopier I use at work blew a fuse last week. I figured it out, but wasn't allowed to change it. Someone from estates had to come and test it and then only he was allowed to change the fuse. A report was made of the incident.

  • Comment number 80.

    I think there is a huge amount of confusion and ignorance on diaplay here, abot what 'Health and Safety' is all about, no doubt fuelled by hysterical press reports over the years, and perhaps undurprising when our own Prime Minister displays the same level of ignorance.
    First off, can we dissociate any guidelines on so-called 'politically correct' speech from Health and Safety? Some employers require their employees to not use certain words or phrases they deem inappropriate. This is entirely up to them and nothing to do with Health and Safety law.
    Secondly, the 'compensation culture' which is wrongly blamed on health and safety law is nothing do do with it. It is in fact, based upon the English Common Law, which gives people the right to claim recompense if the actions or negligence of another person cause them harm or detriment. This dates back, in one form or another, to the Magna Carta, and is the foundation stone of all our law in the UK!
    Health and Safety Law (ie. the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and all its associated regulations apply only to work activities: nobody can use Health and Safety laws to stop you from doing any private activity, or anything which is not defined as a work activity. That is a fact.
    Health and Safety is about two things, essentially: making employers take reasonable steps to minimise risks to anyone who may be affected by their work (note the term 'reasonable') - including employees, the public and others; and to make employees take reasonable steps to look after their own safety at work, and that of people whom their work may affect, and to co-operate with their employers. To that end, risks must be reasonably assessed (itself a commonplace process which we all do even if we don't call it that) and, where people are exposed to risks, then that exposure must be acceptable (to all parties) and justifiable. It is as simple as that.
    The fact that deaths and injuries caused by work activities in the UK are lower now than they have ever been clearly demonstrates that this approach has had a positive effect, no matter what irresponsible and/or misguided jounalists and senior politicians may include in their rhetoric.
    I would challenge anyone to look at the Health and Safety at Work Act, or at any genuine set of Health and Safety Regulations made under that act, and show me something of significance which is unreasonable, unfair or over-zealous.
    For the breathtakingly misinformed, such as Mr Cameron, I would point to this TUC web page, which debunks many popular 'elf and safety related myths, including Mr Cameron's ludicrous and spurious 'conkers' story:-
    http://www.tuc.org.uk/workplace/tuc-12556-f0.cfm

  • Comment number 81.

    72. At 11:29am on 02 Oct 2010, Axel Ramone wrote:

    "common sense is a grey area"?

    Is this a sneaky way of the ultra religous, trying to remove the concept of Evolution from us?


    Common sense is not always common practice.

  • Comment number 82.

    "Health and Safety" issues has become the excuse lazy people hide behind when they don't want to do something. The need to explain those issues might remove this hindrance to progress.

    "Common Sense" what is that? It's an alien concept to many people these days.

  • Comment number 83.

    my friend is in the army in Afghanistan - explosives ordnance officer!

    basically clearing mines and IED's

    no Health and Safety for him - but some chav stocking shelves in Tesco gets treated with kid gloves

    and someone mentioned the spending revue - if councils like Nottingham can waste money knocking conkers off trees for H&S reasons then they have FAR TOO MUCH money and should be 'capped'

  • Comment number 84.

    No I don't worry too much about H&S. That would be unhealthy.

    These are general rules which unfortunately get applied in the wrong way in specific areas. Mostly I use my own commonsense (when I have it).

    H&S can be most useful in situations which you don't know too much about.

    I would think a child would know if wearing a helmut was required when standing under a conker tree and at risk from falling conkers.
    'Bonkers In Phoenix'''You never know eh ? eh ?...''.

    Mind you it could be useful wearing a helmut under a conker tree if the tree trunk or branches were thought unsafe. For example, for tree surgeons.

    But then they would know that anyway from commonsense.
    Like motorbike ryders.
    Car seatbelts.
    Not.

  • Comment number 85.

    As a child I played Conkers, Jacks, Hopscotch, Leap Frog, I sang rhymes such as Baa Baa Black Sheep,etc. Not once were we challenged or derided it was the normal way to live in the UK, since the idiots who decided that we must now sing Baa Baa 'slightly off shade'sheep came into their own little power world, this country has seen a rapid decline in morals, and caring for each other.

    When I saw that Brussels only this week have banned the Cadbury advert showing a pint and a half of milk I despaired!! for 80 years that logo has been on Cadbury's chocolate, and now they have had a gun put to their heads by a beaurocrat in Brussells who has just been paid thousands of pounds to make that decision.

    Thank God something is now being done to get rid of all the 'elf and safety issues' that are ruining our lives and while we are at it lets get ourselves out of Brussells!!!!

  • Comment number 86.

    The thing that protected workers previously was experience and knowledge of your job IE steelworkers, Miners, Shipbuilders. Then along came the YTS and 2 year college courses.
    You dont learn how to catch white hot rivets in a bucket or grab a length of semi solid white hot metal bar travelling at 25mph in two years it was a life time of dedication

  • Comment number 87.

    Yes, at least we seem to be getting a tad more sense in this benighted country after the crazy years of Bliar and Nu-Laba PF but it will take years, even if it possible, to repair the damage done. We really do need very tough government.

  • Comment number 88.

    Thank goodness someone who is saying what most of us think , people should be able to look after themselves and their children , the ambulance chasing lawyers etc has gone to far, even doctors are afraid to treat people in case they get sued ...find a doctor you trust.

  • Comment number 89.

    NOTE TO MODERATORS: My post was full of typos, which detract from my message somewhat. Please (if possible) delete it and replace with this corrected version.

    I think there is a huge amount of confusion and ignorance on display here, about what 'Health and Safety' is all about, no doubt fuelled by hysterical press reports over the years, and perhaps unsurprising when our own Prime Minister displays the same level of ignorance.

    First off, can we dissociate any guidelines on so-called 'politically correct' speech from Health and Safety? Some employers require their employees to not use certain words or phrases they deem inappropriate. This is entirely up to them and nothing to do with Health and Safety law.

    Secondly, the 'compensation culture' which is wrongly blamed on Health and Safety law is nothing to do with it. It is in fact, based upon the English Common Law, which gives people the right to claim recompense if the actions or negligence of another person cause them harm or detriment. This dates back, in one form or another, to the Magna Carta, and is the foundation stone of all our law in the UK!

    Health and Safety Law (ie. the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and all its associated regulations apply only to work activities: nobody can use Health and Safety laws to stop you from doing any private activity, or anything which is not defined as a work activity. That is a fact.

    Health and Safety is about two things, essentially: making employers take reasonable steps to minimise risks to anyone who may be affected by their work (note the term 'reasonable') - including employees, the public and others; and to make employees take reasonable steps to look after their own safety at work, and that of people whom their work may affect, and to co-operate with their employers. To that end, risks must be reasonably assessed (itself a commonplace process which we all do even if we don't call it that) and, where people are exposed to risks, then that exposure must be acceptable (to all parties) and justifiable. It is as simple as that.

    The fact that deaths and injuries caused by work activities in the UK are lower now than they have ever been clearly demonstrates that this approach has had a positive effect, no matter what irresponsible and/or misguided jounalists and senior politicians may include in their rhetoric.

    I would challenge anyone to look at the Health and Safety at Work Act, or at any genuine set of Health and Safety Regulations made under that act, and show me something of significance which is unreasonable, unfair or over-zealous.

    For the breathtakingly misinformed, such as Mr Cameron, I would point to this TUC web page, which debunks many popular 'elf and safety related myths, including Mr Cameron's ludicrous and spurious 'conkers' story:-
    http://www.tuc.org.uk/workplace/tuc-12556-f0.cfm

  • Comment number 90.

    I think there's a difference between health and safety legislation, which has done a lot to hammer unsafe working practices (that employees latterly had no way to address, because remember folks industrial action is effectively illegal in this great nation), and "elf and safety", which is basically people covering their bums with the first handy excuse that springs to mind.

    Beware the scrapping of legislation designed to protect you in the workplace to address what is basically a cultural issue created by litigation lawyers. The second will continue even if you take away the first, it'll just go by a different name.

    And then the workplace injuries will rise and rise.....

  • Comment number 91.

    Absolutely. This could be a vote winner for Cameron if he takes a sufficiently sized axe to the whole H&S culture. He'll have to tackle the vested interests though - the public sector/local authority petty fascists who have made a career out regulation, plus of course the corrupt fee chasing lawyers.

  • Comment number 92.

    I know councils have made some ridiculous decisions in the past - no more ridiculous than insurance companies - but I fear that this is the public face of an assault on the safety conditions of working people in this country. From what I remember of the "Leaked list" of quangos facing abolition, the HSE is one of those who's fate is "Yet to be decided". This looks like the start of the softening process of public opinion ready for its abolition, then for the introduction of a "Self regulatory system", which means of course none at all.

  • Comment number 93.

    Health & Safety is there to protect us all, what the government has allowed is the implementation of new health and safety rules and regulations that are above and beyond the call of the sane. This is what you get when you allow power hungry insignificant minions to designate authority.

    My children who are presently in schooling, are not allowed to play any contact sports such as rugby, they are not allowed to play any games or complete any tasks that place them in danger of the proverbial broken leg even in their lunchtimes.

    We are taking away from our children the ability to see and learn from the dangers in life that surround us all, what we need to do is roll back to the 60s & 70s let our kids live the life we did and encounter the dangers we did.

    Health & Safety at work is another issue; I was an H&S Representative for many years, most of the employers I worked for were very strict and on the ball when it came to health & safety, in most cases any issues raised were dealt with within hours if not a day or two, however some failed to meet this criteria which in turn lead to them being sued for thousands by multiple employees and why not.

    If a company avoids it's health and safety issues it deserves to be sued, the money they save by failing to act on issues raised will eventually end up costing them more and in the process the possibility of a lifetime injury or fertility to one of their employees.

    One question that needs asking is this.

    I worked for one company that employed a huge majority of Indians / Hindu / Sikh & Iraq employees within their factories, the majority of their employees could speak little if any English let alone read and write it.

    Under our health & Safety Regulations, how can you employ in safety hundreds of non-speaking English workers who cannot read chemical labels, health & safety regulation documentation or information relating to their safety in the workplace that is written in English? Baffling don’t you think, or is it our government simply don’t care as long as the tax to keep the moats and ducks in good order keeps coimng in.

    Another case of it’s ok if it benefits us the rest of you can do as you’re told? A bit like allowing smoking in the House of Commons bar is it not?

  • Comment number 94.

    Hopefully the British people are starting to regain their freedoms by this review, but with that freedom comes the responsibility to look after your self and others, will the coalition please look into all areas of the old nanny state and remove as much as possible,
    Ps. also ignore any H/S laws coming from the EU, this and the last government is where the problems really lie.

  • Comment number 95.

    Until local councils realise that they exist solely to serve the citizens of the area, these kind of abuses of power will continue, they'll just have to find another excuse instead of the H&S one.

    I remember wasting a lot of time at my last college over H&S. Returning to work after a stroke, I naturally conducted my own risk assessment so that I could undertake my duties as a teacher in light of the remaining impairment. The main problem was a difficulty with stairs, especially when half a hundred students were on them. Fine, I could reach every room I needed to using a lift... but you cannot use them if the fire bell has gone off. My solution was to inform all classes that, if the fire bell sounded, I'd appreciate them making sure that I got out, to which they all agreed. H&S's solution was that a member of the senior management team had to know where I was at all times and come and get me! Of course, the next time the fire bell went, I was in the loo and the designated senior staff member was of the other gender!

  • Comment number 96.

    "8. At 10:02am on 02 Oct 2010, knownought wrote:

    re#2 Sorry for spelling error/typo I really do know how to spell mandatory, honest!

    P.S. Care workers at the same home were not allowed to breaking a fall so old people were legally allowed to fall over and break their very fragile bones even when it could have been prevented. At least they were allowed to feed their patients which is more than nurses do in hospital wards. Don't shoot the messenger, I've had to feed my own starving mother after she had been admitted to an NHS hospital ward."

    I am a nurse and we are told not to catch people if they fall as it could cause worse injuries to the person as well as to ourselves. I also take exception to the second part of your statement, and will ask you if you are visiting at meal times why not help the ward staff by helping your relative to eat?

    Every one has a common law duty of care to ensure that all practicable steps are taken to ensure the health and safety of visitors to our property, whether they are there with permission or not.
    Companies have a statutory responsibility (Health and Safety at Work Act and others) to ensure that all practicable steps are taken to ensure the health and safety of employees and visitors to their premises. Equally employees have a duty to themselves and their colleagues to ensure their health and safety, as is reasonably practicable.


  • Comment number 97.

    Oh please no! Anyone that appeals to 'common sense' has no real argument at all. Common sense simply doesn't exist - it is all either learned or received wisdom.
    In my experience H&S is often used as an excuse rather than there being any real H&S concern. There should be clear guidelines about where liability falls in event of accident and then just let adults get on with it.

  • Comment number 98.

    81. At 11:56am on 02 Oct 2010, Magi Tatcher wrote:

    72. At 11:29am on 02 Oct 2010, Axel Ramone wrote:

    "common sense is a grey area"?

    Is this a sneaky way of the ultra religous, trying to remove the concept of Evolution from us?

    Common sense is not always common practice.

    ---

    Common sense today, health and safety tomorrow, North Korean totalitarian Stalinist state the day after tomorrow...

  • Comment number 99.

    I would get rid of the 'Health and Safety Department' completely and save this country billions!

    Health and Safety was introduced to ensure safe construction of buildings.

    For example ensuring that Fire Walls were in place and that Fire Exits were clearly marked.

    This country has gone completely mad in allowing the bureaucrats sat in their warm offices dreaming up ways of making life difficult in the work place.

    I recently complained at my local squash club that the floors were slippery and needed scrubbing.

    The answer from this wet behind the ears manager was that we cannot use water as it ruins the floor!! and he quoted Health and Safety.

    This is Health and Safety gone mad and we the decent citizens do not need it.

    Construction of buildings can be covered by laws on Construction .

    Please get rid of the Health and Safety department within government en bloc!

    Jack Halford
    [Personal details removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 100.

    9. At 10:04am on 02 Oct 2010, Bibi wrote:
    Health and Safety has only *gone too far* until it is you or a member of your family who has their lives disrupted or worse by stupid or careless behaviour. Then the very people who bemoan the regulations on sites such as this will be the first ones clamouring at the court room door, looking for compensation.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    But is not part of growing up learning of how to deal with situations and risk so that 'stupid or careless behaviour' is taught to be just that?
    When I grew up we did not have all the current H&S protection, we learned from out mistakes and were allowed to do so, because out parents understood that sometimes only experience could be a teacher.
    I am not saying some of it is not necassery, there are always going to be some people putting others at an unnecassery risk and these need to be dealt with, but I believe that a lot of H&S protection currently insulates a lot of people and particularly children too much, the result being that they have a much less appreciation of risk and how badly they can be hurt - i.e. their sense of danger is impared.

 

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