Morpheus on… Mr Health And Safety

This one really carries on from the below piece on the absurdity of a woman’s claims, following her encounter with a Mr D Duck – this time, the insanity is Health And Safety.

Apparently, a teacher in Wales has just been found guilty of a number of charges relating to his allowing two pupils to ride a SLEDGE. He barely managed to hang on to his JOB.

It seems he brought the Scandinavian high-tech sledge to school as part of a course on design and technology. But then it all went horribly WRONG.

He allowed them to RIDE the thing without “risk-assessing the activity – in writing” and with no “protective masks” (protection from WHAT?) or “protective headgear, knee or elbow pads” and so on and so on – nine charges in all – of which he was found guilty of four.

In My Day (the SIXTIES) we were allowed to turn a Morris Eight into a HOT-ROD and DRIVE it around the school FIELD, unsupervised. In fact, we took one of the teachers for a spin and he fell OFF (we forgot to tell him the passenger seat wasn’t secured). I rode it with my feet straddling the rear chassis, while holding on to the front seat-backs. I also drove the thing for a couple of laps. We were all fifteen and had never driven anything more than bicycles. Happy days.

But years later in the Eighties, when I visited the same teacher, he told me he had QUIT teaching and gone back into industry. Why? Health And Safety.

He was the Head of Engineering – and as such, taught “metalwork”. Now I studied this subject for four years and worked with assorted power tools, a FORGE and several LATHES.

When I first entered the Engineering Department, aged twelve, it occurred that this could be a dangerous place. And indeed it was. We were working with heavy machinery and red-hot metals.

However, during the next four years, neither I nor my classmates received so much as a SCRATCH.

Yet as early as the late Seventies, he told me that Health And Safety was making his job IMPOSSIBLE. And he pointed out that the new “molly-coddling” regulations would ensure future students would be sent out into the industrial workplace – completely UNPREPARED for the dangers that existed there.

Out here in Thailand, Health And Safety is just beginning to bite – but dangers are still all around. People ride comedy step-through motorbikes with little kids balanced on the TANK.

As for electrics (my speciality) – only recently have they begun fitting circuit breakers and EARTHS to houses. Mine was built in the mid-Nineties and features ONE FUSE for the WHOLE HOUSE. Not to protect ME – but to protect the rest of the street FROM me. All wiring is SURFACE (without conduit) – and the only earths are the ones I PUT IN.

And while in Britain, a full ashtray will get you an MOT fail – here, if the vehicle makes it into the MOT station under its own power…

HOWEVER – despite being surrounded by dangers, the Thais have fewer accidents than people back in Blighty. Why? Because, being AWARE of the dangers – THEY TAKE CARE.

All Mr Health And Safety manages to achieve, is to create a nation of people who are so cosseted – they float through life unaware they live in a DANGEROUS WORLD. And when shit happens – as it always does – they are totally unable to DEAL with it.


5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Alfie on January 14, 2011 at 5:34 am

    My favourite H&S incident was at the now-defunct MBM Produce where I worked as an IT Technician. The H&S Manager was named Rachel and we called her “Rachel Hatred” because we enjoyed inciting her!

    She asked me once to reduce the number of cables underneath the office desks. As the network cables all plugged into sockets on waist-high dado rails the only ones on the floor were the ones that supplied mains electricity to the computers. I was SO tempted to comply with her request and remove them all!

    Nice picture by the way – I remember YOU looking like that but would I have known the other boy? Looks vaguely familiar but I can’t put a name to the face.

    And, ahhh, those good old plastic/knitted string driving gloves – I had some like that.


  2. Posted by Vincent on January 14, 2011 at 9:15 am

    Actually that’s a strange one. The pic was taken by a local newspaper reporter – sent to do a puff piece on the big snow we’d just had.

    And while setting it up, he talked me and a kid I’d NEVER MET – and never met again – into going down together!

    In the pic, we look like the best of chums – and he was a HANDSOME bugger – but I’ve no CLUE who he was!!!

    The pic ended up on the cover of the East Anglian Daily Times, if memory serves. In fact I think I still HAVE it, among my souvenirs.

  3. The unidentified young gentleman reminds me of Wynford Vaughan Thomas.

  4. Of course, it is always possible that you guys could be just fooling around and know perfectly well who the guy is.

  5. Posted by Vincent on January 23, 2011 at 6:18 pm

    NO! He really WAS a total stranger to me. The news hound just wanted two kids on a sledge for his piece – and me and one of a NUMBER of kids on the hill that day volunteered. The sledge was mine – but the guy with me was someone I didn’t know – and never knowingly met again. Handsome devil, though – wasn’t he?

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