Five little words, which hold the dubious distinction of being possibly the easiest way of making me really cross. How often do you hear them used both in the media and in every day life, usually by people who wouldn’t know H&S if it smacked them between the eyes? (which of course we aren’t allowed to do – for H&S reasons) Sadly it seems a large percentage of people who read such stories or hear such statements actually believe them and the result is usually a torrent of bile aimed squarely at the H&S profession. Well I’ve had enough of it so I’m going to be talking about it a lot in the coming weeks.
I was in a public venue yesterday where prices at the fairly mediocre cafe have clearly encouraged the clientèle to turn up with their own food and drink. The sign prohibiting people from consuming items not bought on the premises said it was “for H&S reasons”. Honestly it made me so cross I wanted to tear it down right there and then and confront the management of the place with it. Why not just say “You can’t eat your own food here”? Why make up some spurious official-sounding excuse? I suppose it’s because they can then simply point at “H&S” (whoever they may be) and shrug that it’s not really the fault of the management, even though it actually is.
A popular one this week was the widely quoted story in both the Telegraph and the Mirror that local London residents wanting to help with the clean up of their streets were stopped “for H&S reasons”. Of course it’s not true. Checks carried out by IOSH showed that the real reason was that the streets in question were still cordoned off as crime scenes. This check would have taken the newspapers minutes to do but they just didn’t bother. Why not? Easier to bash H&S as usual? Makes a better headline? Of course it does. but this is becoming depressingly typical of our media.
In this Blog, which I have neglected somewhat of late, I’m going to start highlighting more of these pathetic excuses and juvenile reporting. It’s time that idle journalists and lazy management stopped using H&S as an excuse every time the real issue is that they simply can’t be bothered to check the truth or actually TELL the truth. I’d be interested to hear any examples that people may come across. Let’s banish the five little words back to where they really belong and stop using H&S as an excuse for all the things we really don’t want to tackle properly.