Monday, December 03, 2007

Britains latest 'hazard' - Angel Wings.

The latest fiasco to come from the health and safety madness at the moment hails from our own neck of the woods.

There was national press coverage for the pupils at Sacred Heart , RC Primary in Paignton, who were told that their little angels would not to be allowed to wear wings at the nativity Play this Christmas because of the dangers involved.

It was decided that candles in the church could, under certain circumstances, set the festive costumes on fire, or scratch sensitive little arms and so on balance it was decided to ban them.

Headmistress Linda Mitchell said the school made the decision after a "risk assessment". She said: "It is to do with health and safety. You have to be so careful nowadays."If the children are carrying candles there's a danger if they turn suddenly."

Mrs Mitchell added that in last year's nativity play pupils suffered scratches from the wings. She said: "Last year we had wings made from cardboard and flammable material, some children got scratched. The other teachers agreed it was sensible not to have wings."

Society is capable of periodic 'health and safety' madness.

The law that required people to walk in front of Motor Cars carrying a red flag is a good example, but currently things have got completely out of hand.

Partly this has happened because of council guidelines requiring managers and those in authority to take a few moments to actively think about what might go wrong in certain situations in an effort to be 'pro-active'. It's born from the fear of legal action after something has gone wrong; damages are mitigated if it can be proved that reasonable steps were taken to avoid accidents.

The problem is that this is a bit like going to the doctor and asking him what illnesses you might contract over the next year, almost whatever he said you would come away a complete hypochondriac.

Perhaps the law on damages needs a fresh visit and maybe the no-fault no-fee ambulance chasing lawyers need a bit of regulation, too.

But best of all would be to have more of our public service and local authority managers empowered to make decisions of their own rather than managing 'by the book' all the time.

Managers who felt more trusted by their bosses might just be a bit more inclined to use plain old common sense in these situations.


Anonymous said...

Completely beggars belief: the headmistress's decision, that is, rather than H&S. Why would you ban cardboard wings (get the kids to wear long-sleeve t-shirts to prevent scratches) but allow children to wander around with lighted candles?

Health and safety regs are indeed ridiculously prescriptive these days - but that's because many people appear to be incompetent idiots with no common sense whatsoever. Or they're on the make.

Stephen B said...

Bonkers. Just another example of a PC riddled muddled and cofused public policy that subverts common sense.