Less Elf’n’ Safety Finally – Perhaps?

Health and safety madness

H&S Gone Mad?

For what seems like an age, we have all listened to the indignant calls of astonishment…“Not more bloody elf ‘n’ safety tosh? Well finally all this is set to change (apparently), as councils and companies are being directed to stop using health and safety rules as an excuse for making “unpopular decisions” (bbc.co.uk). The fundamental question however remains; are these changes occurring for the right reasons?

It would appear that politicians are finally listening to practitioners at the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH)… How long this ‘understanding’ goes on will remain to be seen however; whilst it does go on, and the government are receptive to the advice of those practitioners about such an important subject, the lobbying should continue.

People in authority such as councillors and managers need to be much more risk literate or risk intelligent. And third parties such as clients, funders or insurers need to avoid requiring people to do things in the name of elf n safety which are not actually required by the law…(bbc.co.uk)

There are still far too many individuals calling for removal of many Health and Safety laws; opinions which are often based solely upon supposition and innuendo. Current legislation has in the main, been developed and applied over many years, it is also (mostly) balanced and fair to all those it seeks to protect. There are inherent dangers in a knee-jerk watering down of that legislation, despite the need to “end the epidemic of excuses wrongly citing health and safety”. Health and Safety law is not;

…a reason to prevent people from doing pretty harmless things with only very minor risks attached. This has to stop. The law does not require this to happen – people must be encouraged to use their common sense…(Chris Grayling MP)

IOSH recently posed a pertinent question on their Facebook page; what is the likelihood of this announcement proving to be the watershed in the public’s perceptions of health and safety? As one respondent quickly pointed out; “It is the media’s reporting of health and safety that needs to be changed, and that’s what Lord Young‘s review should have focussed on instead of changing a system that isn’t broken”.

As alluded to above… Far too much of today’s public opinion is often fuelled by journalistic sensationalism and emotive headline methodology. It follows that in addition to that fact; politicians also have the propensity to base policy and action upon popularity polls. There is a distinct possibility that any of the proposed changes will be born out of totally wrong reasons. These are issues that shouldn’t be underestimated and must be guarded against, for those reasons, I’m reserving my judgement upon the final outcomes.

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About Dave Hasney

National Coordinator for UK SMART Recovery - Previously a Recovery Worker and prior to that a Management Consultant and H&S Practitioner - Kept sane by Angling, Good Food, Real Ale & Wine - Cynical thoughts sometimes developed from others.

Posted on 24-08-2011, in Leadership & Management and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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