15 September 2011

Health and Safety (Gone Mad)

There is a term in the UK that pops up ALL. THE. TIME. The country seems a bit obsessed with it. The term (phrase?) is Health and Safety.  When I worked at the bookstore, I was first briefed on Health and Safety procedures (bend at your knees when lifting heavy boxes).  When I volunteered at the library, we first covered Health and Safety before discussing my responsibilities (meet across the street from the library during a fire).  Steve teaches a COURSE on Health and Safety at the college where he lectures (turn off the tractor before taking apart the engine).

I don't think any of that is so unusual, but here's where it gets weird.  Steve isn't allowed to change the light bulb in his office, because of Health and Safety.  Only electricians may perform that job.  Volunteers in England wanted to plant trees at a park, but they weren't allowed because none of them were trained in digging holes.  The council arranged for qualified hole diggers to plant the trees for them.   ??!!??

Last year when it snowed, we were not allowed to drop off our recycling at the recycling centre.  We drove up to the bins labeled glass and plastic only to find the sidewalk roped off and blocked by orange traffic cones.  We were literally separated from the bins by only about two feet of concrete, but the sidewalk was slushy and hadn't been shoveled so a man in a high visibility vest stopped Steve from stepping up onto it.  Being a fully qualified Canadian who was already extremely scornful of the country's reaction to a mere 6 inches of snow, Steve almost lost his mind over that incident.  Even I, who dislike the winter and agreed with the Scots that we should stop going to work in the snow, learned the Minnesota Shuffle from my college roommate and know how to cross an icy sidewalk on my own.  Health and Safety rules supreme, though.

This is my favorite effect of Health and Safety:

photo from http://www.hopesanddreams.co.uk/security.html
When children from nursery school go out on the town, they're first dressed up in high vis vests and attached to walkodiles.  I find it hilarious.


Amy said...

Shuffle like a penguin!

And I think I need a walkodile for my own nursery school kids . . .

Moo said...

But those kids are dang cute in their pint size safety vests!

Anonymous said...

I hear you. H and S has a place but sometimes it goes too far.


eliana23 said...

Lots of Health and Safety talk in LUTHER which we've been watching and it makes me roll my eyes every time.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...