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onewheeldave
GOLD Member since Aug 2002

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: sheffield, United Kingdom

Total posts: 3252
Posted:This post started as a response to this thread-



http://www.homeofpoi.com/ubbthreads/show...5/o/all/fpart/2



However, it turned into a big reply that would possibly have shifted the thread off-topic, so I'll put it here as a new thread:



------------------------



(please note, the topic of this thread is not whether H&S is good, bad or about examples of 'H&S gone mad'- it is about the wisdom of putting down H&S in a knee-jerk fashion)



On balance though, personally I've found that the most annoying thing about Health and Safety, is peoples reaction/attitude to it.



Too often this is 'knee-jerk' and negative..



I feel that it's a hindrance to Health and Safety and is a self-fulfilling propecy.



I'll give some personal examples, but, before i do, I'll mention that, as a forty-year old, I 'm old enough to remember the days when there was little or no Health and Safety in any industry.



I remember, as a child, my Dad, a steel-worker, having to go to hosptial every few months, because a machine had eaten another part of his hand.



Or, very occasionally, a worker died cos they fell into a vat of molten steel, or got crushed by some machine.



It made a big impression on me at the time and, i'm glad that Health and Safety is now a big part of such industries.



The examples-



Example 1-



Starting a computer course at a local college- one of the tutors gives the standard building tour/H&S talk- it's compulsory, they have to do it.



And don't we know it! they commence by whinging about how we all know it's innane and pointless, but it's something they have to do.



This kind of attitiude is extremely common on such courses and, at first, I just accepted it.



Then i started to reflect on how it was precisely this kind of attitiude amongst tutors that helped spread the negative feelings many have against H&S.



IMO, a 1/2 hour tour/talk on H&S at the beginning of a 6 month course, is entirely reasonable.



Just to take the fire-exit aspect- it's all well and good thinking you can find your way out of a building with ease- but, in the context of a burning building, with alarms going off, smoke messing with visibility and breathing, it's not at all straightforward and, knowledge gleaned from the tour, if people had paid attention, could well save a life.



I'm also glad that, in a computer college, the tutors can't just wheel in a overhead projector without making sure that wires aren't trailing across the room, cos I've seen people trip on trailing wires.



So, why do the tutors have a bad attitude to H&S?



Probably partly cos they're simply passing on the tradition learned from their tutors.



But, I also got the feeling that it could be due to a (possibly unconscious) attempt to gain credibility with their new pupils- in our culture, one sure way to do this, is slag off H&S.



Which I find unfortunate- no wonder so many people feel so negative about it in that climate.



example 2-



I'm setting up a short fire-performance at a local community youth groups halloween do.



I've insisted on a site visit so i can choose the most suitable area and arrange for barriers etc.



Whilst inside the building checking fire-extinguisher provision etc, me and the guy running the event walk up some concrete steps, at the top of which there's a table, placed there to stop the kids going downstairs (there's an afternoon event unconnected with what I'm doing the next day).



As I get to the top of the steps I place my hand on the table as I squeeze by- the tables leg slips off the step and the whole thing starts to fall.



I catch it and everything's OK- but I feel obliged to point out to the guy that the table, placed there, is a hazard.



He shrugs his shoulders- 'it's to block the stairs off to stop the kids going down them'.



I've had this image of kids doing what kids do when there's a table around- ie sit on it.



What would happen if, whilst a kid or two is sat on it, the table slipped as it had just done.



As the leg slipped, the kids would be rolled, backwards, probably head-first, to a 4/5 foot drop onto concrete steps, then the table, on its journey down the steps, would roll over them.



Potentially very nasty indeed.



I pointed this out to him, but, the upshot was, the table got left (he pulled it forwards slightly smile).



Hopefully, next time, he'll think a bit more about it and try to get a more suitable stair block.



Thing is, this happens a lot- i've been at community events where a tea-urn, full of boiling water, was perched on a chair and young kids of 5/6 were free to get tea out of it (I guess this is example 3 smile



Think of what could happen when a 6 year old kid is tugging away on a tap at face-level, of a urn full of boiling water perched on a wobbly chair!



I got that one sorted out, but it blows my mind that, of all the adults there, none other than me, seemed to see the potential problem.



And I've come to the conclusion, that the reason i see these things, is purely cos I care about Health and Safety and see it as a valuable thing.



Everyone else is so busy dismissing it, resenting it, focusing on the, admittedly genuine (but rare), instances of H&S stupidity that do occur- that they miss out on those instances where it could actually save someone a lot of pain.



I've also got to say that, in my experience, the number of instances of H&S genuinely being 'over-the-top' or stupidly applied, are minor in comparison to the instances of people just having an instictive/knee-jerk bad reaction to it.



Also, in my experience, there have been far more instances where more H&S was called for, compared to those where it was excessive.



Additionally, when it comes to the very common "H&S gone mad- mcdonalds sued for sellin g hot tea which got spilt on my lap........" type stories: when i've gone to the trouble of researching them, I've found, when the hysteria and distorion is seen past, that, in pretty much all cases, the suing was entirely justified.



That's just my experience.



Health and Safety is here to stay- we can work with it, or spend time putting it down.



IMO, on the whole, H&S is good- far better than the alternative of not having H&S.



The only negative things about it are the fact that, on occasion, it's applied badly (eg, focusing on legislative requirements 'to the letter' at the expense of focusing on actual, practical safety).



It seems to me, that the genuine negatives like that, are also best addressed in a climate of taking H&S seriously and endevouring to improve its application, rather than running it down.



ie truly negatives of H&S are not about H&S, but rather its misapplication.



I say the above with no reference to our industry, of fire arts; but, over the past decade of involvement with the arts, I can honestly say, that I'm totally unimpressed smile



Not so much but some of the really, really stupid stuff I've seen, but more by the underlying bad attitude to Health and Safety that seems rife the fire arts community.



I'm pretty much the most safety conscious fire arts person I know, by a long stretch and that is something I find pretty scary!



Do you not agree, that, if we make an effort to tone down the 'knocking H&S is cool...' mentality, it will not only improve H&S properly applied, but will also help with dealing with that minority of instances in which it is improperly applied?



please note, the topic of this thread is not whether H&S is good, bad or about examples of 'H&S gone mad'- it is about the wisdom of putting down H&S in a knee-jerk fashion

EDITED_BY: onewheeldave (1172669895)


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

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87wt2gxq7


87wt2gxq7

veteran
Location: Birmingham

Total posts: 1502
Posted:I completely and utterly agree.

I think "H&S gone mad" and dissing it while citing ridiculous-sounding examples is popular just because people (especially Brits) simply love to complain about anything they can.

And H&S is a large issue that touches on just about everything people do. So everyone gets a H&S briefing somewhere along the way, so everyone's conscious of it. And I'm guessing most people have been told sometime in their professional life "nah, we can't do that anymore because of H&S." So it's a big, fat target for people to have a moan about.

But, like a limb or an eye or your child or your career, you only miss your health and safety when they're gone.


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Stout
SILVER Member since May 2004

Stout

Pooh-Bah
Location: Canada

Total posts: 1872
Posted:I too agree.

Speaking of H&S and the fire arts...as the local self appointed "safety nazi" I've decided this is the year I HAVE to buy great big no smoking signs to put around the fuel dump as last years tactic of gently mentioning it didn't seem to have much effect.

FYI..I have thrown a lit cigarette into a paint can of white gas before, just to see what would happen ( nothing,it fizzed out ) ....but still


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Firetramp


Firetramp

old hand
Location: Binstead, Isle of Wight

Total posts: 896
Posted:Ok, you're right when it comes to safety but with health, I think they are exagerating a bit.

If I buy a pack of salt crisps, it's because I fancy them, they're a treat and a snack. It's my choice and I don't want any salt taken out of them! What's the point? If salt is unhealthy for you, don't eat it! Or not everyday for lunch, I don't.

Same with the bread. In Belgium you have options; you can buy bread with or without salt. But reducing the salt in all breads? Urgh.

And putting on a pack of peanuts that it might contain nuts and even peanuts (I'm not exagerating!), yes, that is ridiculous! Does that mean they might not contain peanuts? Can I sue them? Because if I buy peanuts, I want peanuts!


Ask a question and be a fool for a minute...don't ask and be a fool your whole life.

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87wt2gxq7


87wt2gxq7

veteran
Location: Birmingham

Total posts: 1502
Posted:Health and Safety Regulations (with capital letters, to denote formal regulations published and enforcable by the Health and Safety Executive) don't apply to the amount of salt you have in your food, do they?

also, peanuts aren't nuts, they're nut-like peas. According to my housemate who is allergic to all nuts, but can eat peanuts coz they're peas!


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bluecat


bluecat

geek, level 1
Location: everywhere

Total posts: 5300
Posted:you'd never do a fire show without checking you had all your safety equipment around, now, would you...? tongue

nice one, dave. wholehearted agreement.

minor gripes about some applications, but general agreement that H+S is a positive thing.


Holistic Spinner (I hope)

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Helen_of_Poi
SILVER Member since Apr 2004

Helen_of_Poi

lapsed spinner
Location: Dublin, Ireland

Total posts: 412
Posted:In my experience, once you mention health and safety issues, some people (thankfully a minority smile ) may take the attitude that you're detracting from the fun, spontaneity and creativity of events or performances. By this I mean that if you're in a position where you have to enforce or even gently remind people about a safety issue, you can hear "don't be such a square man, you're wrecking my vibe" type responses.

It is slightly different from griping about safety precautions for a fire show, but I think you can see some examples of first class griping in this thread from the EJC 2006 forum For anyone who can't be bothered reading it, it is a thread about the smoking ban in Ireland, and one individual's opinion that we, the EJC organisers were basically ruining the spirit of the event by respecting our country's laws on smoking in public places. There are some quite amusing rants in the thread.

(NOTE: This forum is now locked because we were finding it impossible to keep up with the spammers and their viagra ads, not because of anything to do with threads like this one.)

I really hate health and safety gripers because it can make anyone who wants to run an event or do a performance in a responsible way feel like they have to be the disciplining parent figure, depriving the kids of fun stuff, when that isn't the case at all.


Helen_of_Poi

EJC Ireland 2006 Organisational Team

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87wt2gxq7


87wt2gxq7

veteran
Location: Birmingham

Total posts: 1502
Posted:True dat, Helen.

My observation of H'n'S-gone-mad complainants is that they're generally too dumb to think for themselves which is why they need a government executive department to do the thinking for them.

If everyone gave a few seconds' more thought to their actions there'd be much less of a need to create a great big set of legally-endorsed rules and regs.


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Lurch
BRONZE Member since Nov 2003

Lurch

old hand
Location: Oregon, USA

Total posts: 929
Posted:I'd have to agree, my thinking is that if they're giving me a lecture about some seemingly mundane idiotic thing that goes completely against common sense, it means someone at somepoint has either gotten seriously injured, or died by doing that idiotic thing.

From that context it's even mildly amusing to listen to some of those talks... I just think it's crazy that people will go out of their way to avoid learning something that could potentially save their life.


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onewheeldave
GOLD Member since Aug 2002

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: sheffield, United Kingdom

Total posts: 3252
Posted: Written by: Helen_of_poi




It is slightly different from griping about safety precautions for a fire show, but I think you can see some examples of first class griping in this thread from the EJC 2006 forum For anyone who can't be bothered reading it, it is a thread about the smoking ban in Ireland, and one individual's opinion that we, the EJC organisers were basically ruining the spirit of the event by respecting our country's laws on smoking in public places. There are some quite amusing rants in the thread.




That thread was an interesting read, cheers for the link.

It made me think of a problem with the last 'Shefcon' (Sheffield juggling convention), where the juggling society who organised it have been banned from using the venue (Sheffield university sports center) in future, due to the fact that a hardcore minority insisted on smoking inside the venue.

Apparently, as well as tobacco there was a fair bit of spliff wrapping going on as well.

I guess, in hindsight, the organisers should have planned for it, but, given that it was in a sports center, it's easy to see why it wouldn't occur to anyone that you'd have to have contingencies for people smoking inside.


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

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Helen_of_Poi
SILVER Member since Apr 2004

Helen_of_Poi

lapsed spinner
Location: Dublin, Ireland

Total posts: 412
Posted:Re: Shefcon

That's such a shame. I can completely see why the organisers may not have had a contingency for smoking in the venue - as a sports centre, I'm sure it would have all the usual signage etc, and that generally people would respect the fact that you can't really expect to be allowed to smoke in a sports centre.

Do you know if the convention will continue in another venue?


Helen_of_Poi

EJC Ireland 2006 Organisational Team

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alien_oddity


alien_oddity

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: in the trees

Total posts: 7193
Posted:smokers...................deemed to be the modern day "lepper" community.



oooooooooo look out, he's smoking 30 meters away from me, i might catch something eek







ubblol


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onewheeldave
GOLD Member since Aug 2002

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: sheffield, United Kingdom

Total posts: 3252
Posted: Written by: Helen_of_poi


Do you know if the convention will continue in another venue?



There were also other issues with the convention, so, this year, it's been decided to have a break.

There could well be one next year.


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

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