It's about time we had the right to choose whether to wear "safety" clothing at work in situations where it is not appropriate to the situation. I work for Veolia ltd in a seasonal capacity and I am expected to wear heavy, uncomfortable, steel toecapped footwear in a situation which doesn't warrant it.

My job involves pushing a refuse cart along the pavement up and down the seafront, picking up litter with a stick and sweeping, emptying dustbins etc. I never encounter any situation which could put my feet at risk, if anything the footwear itself is a health hazard as the boots are so heavy, making it so much more difficult to walk the long distances than it would be in normal footwear, especially so in hot weather. So here we have "health and safety" legislation which is being appllied in a situation where safety is not an issue and causing a detrimental impact on my health to boot (no pun intended).

The enforced wearing of high visibility waistcoats is another phenomenon which has mushroomed in recent years to the pont where just about anybody who has a job must dutifully surrender his dignity to the flourescent obedience bib. Obviously, in situations such as working in a dangerous warehouse with fork lifts or on the roads or raliways high-vis waistcoats are a worthwhile safety precaution but is it really necessary for a bus driver sitting behind the wheel or someone delivering leaflets from door to door to be made to wear one? I don't think so.

Why is this idea important?

I think it broadcasts a miserable picture of a public who have been cowed into submission, who are not allowed to express any individuality at work or decide their own level of risk, who are not allowed to step outside the regulations, no matter how inappropriate, for fear of losing their job. It's very depressing to return from other countries whose people have more freedom to decide for themselvesto see what a sorry, brow beaten, "not allowed" country Britain has become.

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