Elf and Safety

There was a new comedy programme that started on BBC last week, written by Ben Elton. It’s all about Gerald Wright, a Health and Safety Department chief from the fictional town of Baselricky, somewhere in the south of England. Very funny I’m sure – except it isn’t and it’s had a real panning from the critics. But the premise that it’s hilarious to make fun of people involved in protecting people at work from accidents and ill health has become generally accepted.

In recent year the trend in the media and the entertainment industry has been to mock, misrepresent and ridicule the whole idea of health and safety. This has played into the hands of a government which has an ideological agenda to remove anything that gets in the way of the pursuit of profit.

Well, just in case anyone thinks they’re right, a lack of regulation and a disregard for health and safety led to this

the collapse of a building in India which resulted in the death of a large number of Indian textile workers.

Ben Elton, who made his name as an “edgy” radical comedian really ought to know better.

4 thoughts on “Elf and Safety

  1. The phrase that really annoys me is “Health and Safety gone mad” when people really mean “Possible litigation by people who do not accept accidents happen without someone else to blame leading to ridiculous insurance premiums to cover the money grabbers gone mad.” I used to run a climbing club at school. To raise money to extend the climbing wall in the gym and buy more equipment, we had a sponsored abseil in a local disused quarry. One girl in Year 9 with long hair was shown how to make sure her hair was fastened inside her helmet and how to abseil down the quarry face. Anyone who has ever abseiled knows that you should be pretty much horizontal with your feet flat on the wall. Her hair came free and managed to get caught in the belay plate fastened at her waist. Her hair should not have been anywhere near that plate. It jerked her head and she was off school the next day. When she was in Year 12, the school was hit with a compensation claim. Lots of meetings and form-filling later, I assume the local authority paid some sort of claim, as was the norm, it being cheaper than fighting claims in the courts – I was never advised of the financial outcome. The outcome as far as I was concerned was that it killed climbing in school stone dead. The girl’s family gained a few hundred pounds. What did the rest of the school lose?

    • Thanks for the contribution, John. I agree with your comments. Fear of litigation rather than regulation and a sensible approach to health and safety management is the real reason behind the anecdotal tales we continually read in the press.

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