Sunday, 9 November 2008

RoSPA warns of "health and safety" threat to freedom

It seems that even those with a vested interest in the Health and Safety industry are realising things may have gone just a little too far.

The chief executive of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) Tom Mullarkey warned safety experts they will be accused of constructing a nanny state and damaging freedom if they continue to meddle unnecessarily in people's private lives.

He pointed out the obvious fact that "absolute safety" is an unattainable goal in any case.

Clearly it is insane to mindlessly persue absolute saftey beyond the point where the persuit of it is a greater threat to public well being and quality of life than the original risk.

Unfortunately one fears things may have already gone too far to be recoverable.

Whilst Mr Mullarkey may have a real interest in safety it is difficult to credit that many of those behind the burgeoning compensation culture do not have their eye at least as much on the money to be had at the expense of the taxpayer and consumer - that and their lucrative jobs.

This in turn terrifies the likes of teachers, volunteers and local councils that they will be sued. Those that are still willing to take the chance they may arbirarily be accused of being a paedophile if they so much as pat a child on the head and are willing to undergo the bother and expense of often multiple criminal records checks.

Could it be about time there were much stiffer costs for bringing some of the more dubious cases for compensation to court, for both the party that brings the case and their attournies. Also it might be good if a much greater weight were given to their not having taken reasonable precautions, or if they are partly responsible.

More more rational limits on amounts awarded might also be a good thing.
It begins to look as if greed for un justified and undeserved compensation payments is gnawing away at some of the underpinings of a healthy society.


Simon Fawthrop said...

In my experience safety professionals aren't the problem, its those with little bit of knowledge who are looking for a bit of power who are the problem, but they are a consequence of the situation not the cause.

I put most of the blame on the Tory's move to allow no win, no fee compensation claims. Now everyone is shit scared of being sued for the most trivial of reasons, even though most fail.

Moggs Tigerpaw said...

I figure a lot of the trouble is that people are scared of being sued, or prosecuted, and that makes them decide not to risk doing stuff.

I guess the reason for that is another part of the problem. That people do get sued on claims that should never go to court by ambulance chasers.

CFD Ed said...

Thank you for your comments. It seems they highlight the role played by ambulance chasers and the dubious claims they encourage.

Never-the-less health and safety regulation and enforcement do seem to be the sea that these fish swim in. So surely overzealous use of the legislation is fuel to their flame.

Most of what really needed doing by the legislation is now surely largely done. One gets the impresion that, like a stellar furnace all the hydrogen has been converted, now we are into the heavier elements...

Maybe we should scale back on the vast number of safety experts now.