Judith Hackitt’s ‘Risk Assessment’ – The mysterious case of the dog in the park…

You may have read pop singer Will Young’s Huffington Post blog recently in which he rightly railed against park wardens who refused to help him find his dog Esme due to ‘health and safety rules’. Three times the worried singer asked wardens for a lift in their vehicles to help search for his errant pooch and three times he was refused on “health and safety” grounds.

Mr Young rightly identified the real reason for this unhelpfulness as the wardens imagining he would sue them if he fell out of the vehicle! This kind of paranoia generally provides an excuse to simply be unhelpful. I for one applaud Will for writing about the incident but also having the nous to recognise health and safety had no part to play in the mean spirited episode. By the way, HSEs Myth Busters agreed also.

It’s been more than two years since HSE launched its Myth Busters Challenge Panel and in that time I’d like to think we have made real strides in challenging the public perception of health and safety being a barrier to people going about their everyday business.

As I’ve said before there are many reasons why health and safety is trotted out by any number of people, poor customer service or a lazy justification for an unpopular decision or fear of civil litigation and the need to do things to get insured. However, the one reason that really rankles is the one illustrated above, one of good old fashioned unhelpfulness.

One such recent MBCP case involved the iconic Tour De France where a county council in Yorkshire asked that bunting carrying 20,000 small knitted Tour de France jerseys was removed from lampposts as it ‘created a health and safety risk’ “due to structural integrity issues”.

Now, I do know this is not health and safety and I can’t comment on the whys and wherefores of lamppost integrity, but I can suggest as the Myth Busters do that the Council could have been far more helpful and offered suggestions to allow people’s hard work being displayed rather than ordering it being pulled down.

The fact that some people opt for convenient but nonsense excuses to mask their unhelpfulness suggests awareness that they could do more if they were inclined, I’d appeal to those people to think not of what they don’t want to do but rather what they can do to help others, after all compassion is an important human trait, lets not forget it.

Article source: http://www.hse.gov.uk/news/judith-risk-assessment/the-mysterious-case-of-the-dog-in-the-park040714.htm