Monday 21 March 2011

Health and Safety - the man who never sleeps

Isn't it comforting to know that - like the off-duty policeman who intercepts a bank robber, or the holidayng fireman who extinguishes a fire - the Health and Safety people too are constantly on the qui vivre.

Our local supermarket had some scales; little hanging DIY affairs among the fruit and veg, to help people check the weights of their purchases. But not any more. Oh no. Because a Health and Safety official, off duty, doing his shopping (as even H&S people have to do from time to time), decided that the scales were a hazard and has had them removed.

I am seriously annoyed about this, on several counts.
1. If a customer was very short and very clumsy, he just might have been able to give his head a gentle bump on the scales. But he would have to have tried pretty hard. And there are trained First Aiders on hand who would have been delighted to come to his aid. So no real danger there.
2. I liked those scales. Being of a certain age, I like pounds and ounces; I like to be able to be sure I'm not confusing pounds with kilogrammes, and catering for eight, say, instead of four. Those scales were useful.
3. Official interference is bad enough. Off-duty interference is just not on.

That's all.


  1. I'm all for health and safety in the right place but come on....Whatever happened to personal responsibilty?

  2. Soon, health and safety are going to decide that birth is altogether too risky a procedure and will have it stopped...

  3. I can feel my anger rising on reading that, Frances... Really, it's already gone too far so how dare they police the country when off duty too!

    Colette makes a good point about personal responsibility - soon we will lose the ability to make decisions for ourselves.

  4. HI, Colette, Alis, Rosemary. I'm glad you all agree. When I bought sparklers for my grandchildren in the same supermarket, I was escorted off the premises in case....of what? And what about matches? No-one's escorted off the premises when they buy matches*, and someone could do do much more harm with a lighted match. Come to think of it, this morning (not a good morning, for different reasons) I am sorely tempted...

    Actually, Alis, I think you're right. I'm sure the fatalities during childbirth outnumber those from supermarket scales. I wonder whether anyone's done a survey? And responsibility? What's that?

    *I didn't have any matches with which to run amok with my sparklers

  5. No doubt they were also incorrectly calibrated, an even more heinous crime!

    The folk of Gotham City are fortunate that such vigilance never sleeps, and the forces of chaos and disorder are routed even on officialdom's day off...

  6. I often use those scales myself to check the weight of loose fruit and veg. How daft!

    Did you see the Antiques Roadshow on Sunday? There was a beautiful rocking horse which could seat 3 children and it belonged to a school. But the children were not allowed to ride the horse because of... Health and Safety.

  7. Hi, Tim. You're probably right. Actually, I'm going to go in and do battle on their (the scales') behalf. What have I got to lose?

    Joanne - i didn't see the Antiques Road Show, but you don't surprise me. When I was a child back in the good old days, when we were allowed to be unhealthy and unsafe, nice Mr. Deller the hairdresser used to sit us on a rocking horse to have our hair cut. Can you imagine what H&S would make of that? Ah... those were the days...