“The society which has abolished every kind of adventure makes its own abolition the only possible adventure.” Paris, May 1968

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Health and Safety. Be careful what you wish for.

Two subjects are bound to get the bloke in the pub going. One is political correctness (gone mad) and the other is 'elf 'n safety (also gone mad). Yet irritating though both these much derided institutions can be, and I grant that they can be irritating, they both have their roots in something that is basically decent. One comes out of a not unreasonable idea that everyone deserves a fair crack of the whip regardless of their race, gender or sexual preferences and that it's not that clever to be constantly slagging people off for aspects of their being that they have absolutely no control over. The other has it's roots in workers in construction, mining, shipping etc. insisting that employers provide as safe a working environment as was practical in what were always going to be dangerous occupations. I find it quite sad that two genuinely progressive ideas have been so debased that they are now seen as offering nothing but further state interference in our already over policed lives.
I mention all this because Lord Young's recent attack on health and safety while certainly on target when it come to litigation culture, kids not being allowed to play conkers and all the rest of the nonsense, may be preparing the ground for something else. Is His Lordship softening us up for some huge cuts to the Health and Safety Executive I wonder? The HSE can be the last line of defence for some workers forced into dangerous working environments and is even more important in a time of rising unemployment and job insecurity. Next time you slag off health and safety - be careful what you wish for.


Dave E said...

The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 is a fine piece of pro-worker legislation that demands respect, and "the real health and safety scandal in the UK is the 20,000 people who die each year due to injury or diseases linked to their work."

Jemmy Hope said...

"Lord Young's recent attack on health and safety ... may be preparing the ground for something else."
No doubt in my mind that that's what it is.