We hear every day moanings about how ‘elf and safety gets in the way of work, how it’s only perceived purpose is to slow you down or to stop you from doing things that you may have done for years.
But how about looking at how having these confounded rules and regulations have actually made our working lives safer.
When I was about 16 – more years ago than I care to remember, I worked in the warehouse of a local branch of a now long-gone supermarket chain.
My job and the others who worked with me was to make sure that the stock was available for the shop staff to take out to the shop floor, and then clearing the waste materials.
There must have been a forklift truck as some pallets were stacked two or three high.
But I remember we had to climb up to the top of the stacks to drop boxes of cereals or biscuits or jars etc down to waiting arms.
So spot the hazards.
1– Climbing up the outside of an unsecured pallet tower.
2– Balancing on the top with a sharp blade to cut the wrapping, then 3- dropping heavy items to people below. If they missed or dropped them we would then have broken jars to worry about too.
Then there was getting rid of the waste cardboard. This was done using a baling machine. None of us had any training in how to use this powerful press, I recall having to stand inside it to crush down the boxes so we could get more into a bale! Then we had to move it… No PPE, no training, no supervision. Now the HSE would issue Prohibition Notice before you could even say PN.
Just imagine your 16 -year-old working in a place like that. Is ‘elf and safety still a nuisance or is it needed?