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Health and Safety Legislation needs a dose of reality lessons…

Comment 27th July 2010

I have watched in amazement the explosion in growth of the Health and Safety legislation, which has become a massive, self perpetuating industry that is damaging and castrating the youth of our country while adversely affecting everybody.

The fundamental problem with the plethora of Health and Safety legislation is one of essentially and ultimately flawed philosophy or ideology. Because it is based on the fallacious premise that you can eliminate All risks entirely and make everything totally safe.

Our planet and indeed the entire universe itself is when you come right down to it by its very nature are inherently dangerous and unstable. Every single living organism on our earth today is here because it learned to understand, cope with, manage and minimise the risks successfully and consequently survive both individually and as a species.

Please note: the small but subtle difference I propose.

  • Healthy and Safety should be concerning teaching people about assessing, evaluating, controlling, managing, and minimising risks.
  • The Health and Safety Industry (for that is precisely what it has become) is entirely and unrealistically about eliminating All risks entirely from any and all activities.


The precept that you can abrogate all responsibility for your own Health and Safety to some third party completely within a controlled environment briefly is both foolish and dangerous. That sense of security is always going to be predicated on a fallacy, for the truth is after you have done everything totally correctly there is always going to be the unforeseen failure in any system that can and will lead to injury or death.

However, the real danger is becoming habituated to trusting the Health and Safety legislative so that you simply fail to recognise the dangers for yourself in the real world and as a consequence you are ultimately simply unprepared to cope when left to your own devices in any real emergency. You simply have no idea how to act correctly, or know how to make the informed and educated decisions necessary which will immediately impact on your own and others survival.

The point I am trying to make, is that you can teach young people to survive only by putting them in challenging situations which seem dangerous, but dangers though real are managed and controlled, so the risks encountered are absolutely minimal.

The idea is hardly new or revolutionary in either theory or practice as that is precisely what an inoculation is. A weakened form of a virus is deliberately introduced so the body can learn to recognise the danger in the future and produce antibodies.

The point is you try getting that concept over to the Health and Safety industry and they will reject the idea completely, most of the time I suspect to justify and sustain their own positions and continued employment security.


But that is why government exists. For it is government legislation that created the Health and Safety legislation that founded and gave rise to this huge exponentially vast growth industry.

Why does this matter?

Now while even I accept Health and Safety is useful perhaps the focus should be altered slightly to not always seek to eliminate All risks entirely in every situation, or activities that sometimes require and involve some controlled and managed risks that are necessary so that we can teach others to manage those risks effectively, safely, and successfully. Under the current legislation these essential life lessons cannot take place, and dare I say that not teaching someone something is never the answer.

No one has ever learnt to drive a car or pilot an aeroplane merely by reading a book about it. Driving and flying are totally interactive physical activities not a theoretical exercise.

Similarly survivors are created by teaching people to think logically and presenting them with a bank of learned responses to various different circumstances, but these responses by their very nature must be learned through hands on practical experiences which involves placing them in some small danger with controlled risks in addition to the ability to interpolate theory into practice in the real world.

Military and commercial pilots are trained on simulators that respond and feel like the real thing in which you can reproduce dangerous situations, private pilots are trained by putting the aircraft into dangerous attitudes and then taught how to recover control quickly and safely and everyone agrees that is an eminently sensible thing to do.

What I have suggested voids nothing from the Health and Safety industry quite the contrary it merely seeks to inject some semblance of good sound common sense, balance, and reality into what has become a monster industry that is now stifling many of our better innovations and activities as a direct consequence of misguided philosophy and ideology of zero risks. But there is no such thing as zero risk in anything we do, because our planet is inherently unstable and dangerous. There are always going to be systemic failures in any system and only education can help one deal with them successfully.

Now add the exponentially extensive expansion of Child Safety legislation combine that with political correctness thrown in and you have all the makings of a disaster or catastrophe waiting to happen.

All I am suggesting is that you people need to think through and reconsider these things and perhaps make some modifications that bring some semblance of sound common sense to the whole mess that has become Health and Safety and Child Safety not to mention all this Political Correctness rubbish.



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