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Health and safety laws and risk assessments

Comment 2nd July 2010

The requirement of the Health and Safety Legistlation have been taken to unreasonable extremes such that they are creating unnecessary red tape, taking away a persons awareness, making individuals risk averse and costing a great deal in training, equipment and common sense. 

In the last 3 weeks I have become aware of a group of staff who were volunteers on an environmental project who could not cut the grass with a lawn mower until they had gone through a 2 hour training course on the use of the machine:  Of staff who where told that they could not use fire extinguishers on a fire in case they chose the wrong one.  A ballet class where at exam time the children had to go from one room to another 10 yds through a public area so the parents had to be police checked to accompany them:  Of a first aid box that could not contain any scissors, tweezers, plasters, paracetamol or medicines as they were dangerous; a canal that was dewatered and all the staff attending had to wear life jackets beasue they were within 5 m of the canal even if there was no water in it and my window cleaner who can no longer use a ladder.

The proposal is to abolish the risk assessment element but keep the fines for breaches resulting in dealth and injury.   The common sense of the business should judge how to take the most appropriate measures.  A website could be put up to illustrate inappropriate health and safety meaures,

Why does this matter?

It costs businesses days of time and extra costs yet leads to vey little net gain compared to the cost to the nation.

The compulsory provision of appropriate information on the web to examples of poor behaviours that resulted in death or injury will educate without costing the earth.  Similarly the provision of information of inappropriate responses will enable organisations  to assess if they are being stupid

The public sector could benfit from information without having to employ health and safet;y advisors and  bear the costs of duplications of training.

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