For the past 15 years, this column has made a good living out of elf 'n' safety. Now, though, the Government is promising to put an end to the madness, scrapping the stupid rules and risk assessments, and derailing the spiv lawyers cashing in on the com-pen-say-shun culture.
No one has told Lancaster City Council, which has banned revellers from watching the city's annual fireworks display from Castle Hill, citing - you guessed - elf 'n' safety,
Even though it has taken place for the past 18 years without anyone getting hurt. Looks like there's still some mileage in it for me yet.
And here's what he says today:
Lord Young’s report on elf’n’safety stupidity was long overdue and his recommendations sensible — particularly over the spiv lawyers at Blame Direct and the hyper-cautious risk assessment industry.
But he’s got his work cut out. Over the weekend, the new, touchy-feely sunflower seeds exhibition at Tate Modern was closed down because of fears it could bring on asthma attacks...
Another report highlighted the loss of most of Britain’s historic cobbled streets, which are being dug up and buried under Tarmac by councils on the off-chance someone might slip over and sue for com-pen-say-shun.
This column has made a good living out of elf’n’safety over the years. If Lord Young succeeds, I’m out of a job.
Fortunately, given the stubborn endurance and bloody-mindedness of the British bureaucrat, I’m confident there’ll be some mileage in it for a few years yet.
It seems there is one type of recycling that Littlejohn thinks is acceptable...
But there's some interesting points made in the Young Report that Littlejohn has conveniently overlooked. Such as:
Britain’s ‘compensation culture’ is fuelled by media stories about individuals receiving large compensation payouts for personal injury claims and by constant adverts in the media offering people non-refundable inducements and the promise of a handsome settlement if they claim.
One of the great misconceptions, often perpetuated by the media, is that we can be liable for the consequences of any voluntary acts on our part. During winter 2009/10, advice was given on television and radio to householders not to clear the snow in front of their properties in case any passer by would fall and then sue.
This is another manifestation of the fear of litigation. In fact there is no liability in the normal way, and the Lord Chief Justice himself is reported as saying that he had never come across a case where someone was sued in these circumstances.
We have all read countless media stories blaming health and safety regulations for all manner of restrictions on our everyday life...
The Health and Safety Executive runs a successful ‘myth of the month’ page on its website; however, there is no end to the constant stream of misinformation in the media.
Again and again ‘health and safety’ is blamed for a variety of decisions, few of which actually have any basis in health and safety legislation at all.
Young looks at three health and safety stories that he says are myths. One is the case of the Dovedale stepping stones, which hit the headlines in August. 'Dovedale's iconic stepping stones paved over amid health and safety fears', screeched the Mail. 'Concrete slabs placed on historic stepping stones due to health and safety', huffed the Telegraph.
Like so many health and safety stories in the media, the renovation of the Dovedale stepping stones has nothing at all to do with health and safety.
The stones date from the Victorian era but over time had weathered and sunk down into the river bed, thereby becoming uneven. Some had sunk to such a degree that the route became inaccessible for parts of the year. The only other route across the river is via a footbridge up a narrow scree slope, which is harder to access.
The stones are on National Trust land but as they form part of a public right of way Derbyshire County Council is responsible for maintaining them. Therefore the National Trust asked the council to look at the stones. This resulted in the stones being raised to their original height. Similar renovation methods have been used in the past.
The issue here was that a public right of way had become inaccessible. It seems that the health and safety aspect of the story is a media addition.
And, as this blog mentioned in a post about media articles about 'bans' that aren't really bans at all, Littlejohn and his ilk will continue to get their 'mileage' out of it if they keep exaggerating or inventing these 'health and safety' stories.