GIVING HEALTH AND SAFETY A HARD TIME

Hurrah! We have somebody to champion our fight against the Health and Safety Executive and the army of grey men who dream up the rules and regulations. I mean, who sets out to do that as a chosen career path?

It sometimes seems that they are getting their own back on real people by wielding their little bit of power with all the pomposity they can muster. Now, don’t get me wrong; health and safety in the right place is a good thing. But when it comes to the recent laughable examples of the five-page briefing on using glue sticks, and teachers being instructed to don goggles when putting up posters, well… I could go on all day.

 But I’m not going to.

Instead, I will relate the story of a good friend of mine (We’ll call her Maggie) who owns a well known and well-respected West Lothian Business. It’s not easy; she puts in a full day of hard labour, plus the paperwork, chasing contracts and payments. Dealing with deliveries and sales. Organising a million little tasks. So, the last thing she needs in her busy schedule is some officious, juvenile H&S junkie trying to nosey in and dictating how she should run her business.

So, she tells me, the phone rang recently, and she picked it up.

“Good morning,” Maggie said. “ How can I help you?”

“Put me through to whoever deals with your Health and Safety,” says the voice on the other end.

“We don’t do Health and Safety, I’m afraid. We do common sense,” Maggie answers breezily.

“I beg your pardon?” “We don’t do Health and Safety – we do common sense. Oh, wait. You’re too young to remember common sense aren’t you? It’s what we used to have before Health and Safety.”

There is a sound of pages being rustled as he leafs through his script to find the right response. Maggie says nothing; just waits…

“Er, well thanks. ‘Bye.”

I think we can all take comfort that there are still people out there like Maggie, giving these people the run-around. We owe the Maggie’s of this world a huge vote of thanks.

Drew McAdam.

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