We have all heard the ‘horror’ stories of how ridiculous health and safety regulations can be; banning conkers at school, or making children wear safety goggles being one of them.
The trouble is that the nonsensical can swiftly replace the overall good that a proper health and safety regime brings with it. Having listened to the pub bores spouting about it and having written articles for a health and safety magazine after visits where no accidents or fatalities had occurred because of measures put in place, I know which camp I prefer to be in.
We carry this week an item from the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) precisely making that point. Its panel of experts ruled on its 300th case and the list of absurdities related by the public included a fishmonger who refused to fillet fish.
The 300th case was one where a mirror in a disabled toilet was removed ‘for health and safety reasons’. Investigations found this was tosh – the real reason was cutting costs by the publican. As Judith Hackitt, Chair of HSE and the Myth Busters Challenge Panel, said: “I never cease to be amazed at the cases brought to our attention and they just keep on coming. ‘Health and safety’ is trotted out all too often, an easy way to hide the real reason for refusal to do or allow something, which is usually just bad customer service.”
Instances like this give what should be regarded as a worthy way to reduce accidents and fatalities a ridiculous reputation that comes as meat and drink to pub bores. As much as I like my pint, I so long for the day (and evening) when they could concentrate on the real absurdities and myths in life, like England winning the World Cup.
Caption Fishmonger refusing to fillet a fish? Dream on, says the HSE.