Talk:Health and safety

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I'm not entirely sure what the BoN is getting at. Could he please elucidate?--"Shut up, Brx." 14:37, 13 April 2012 (UTC)

Delete or rewrite[edit]

I'd do a rewrite but I haven't got the time at the moment. As it stands this is crap but H&S is a massively misunderstood area. Whilst the old "It's health and safety gone mad" is the common cry of the Daily Fail et al, those who are involved in it are quietly proud in the vast reduction in workplace injuries and deaths - and so they should be. Bob Soles (talk) 14:40, 13 April 2012 (UTC)

Rewrite as preferred - including funspace: [1] and many other examples sufficient for a WIGO-in-its-own-right. Those aspects which are 'common sense'/getting a consistent system in a particular field' etc are generally ignored. (talk) 14:43, 13 April 2012 (UTC)

Most of the examples where 'common sense' is ignored are, when you get there, actually a good thing. Obviously no system is perfect and there will always be examples where someone made an idiot of themselves but, to my mind, most health and safety gone mad stories are like the mad rules from Brussels stories, either wrong, missing some significant factor, or gross oversimplifications of difficult aspects.
It's a slightly different thing but I knew the son of the person who designed the "magic roundabout" in Hemel Hempstead which was generally considered the same thing. Who on earth could possibly think that this monstrosity in anyway helped the traffic flow! I asked my friend about it and his simple reply was "two lives a year" - the two road accident deaths that don't happen since the redesign. The architect of one of the most derided traffic systems in the UK considers it to be the thing he's most proud of and the reason - "two lives a year".
So I'm loath to have an article on "let's laugh at health and safety" unless you really know what you're talking about. Bob Soles (talk) 14:56, 13 April 2012 (UTC)

An article on biopolitics would be amazingly relevant for this wiki.--"Shut up, Brx." 14:58, 13 April 2012 (UTC)

And this has exactly what to do with H&S? Bob Soles (talk) 15:00, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
Everything. You may be more familiar with the term under names like "pastoral power" or "biopower." The cheap version of it is today's "big government." Basically, around the end of the 19th century there was shift in governments from being sovereign powers, with the power to kill, to biopowers, with the goal of preserving life. A biopower becomes increasingly effective in its purpose, up to the point where its relevance becomes questionable. In order to continue existing, a biopower escalates the standards of its purpose, becoming more and more overbearing. Eventually, utilitarian cost/benefit analyses reach the point where protecting the people becomes oppressing the people. Michel Foucault used examples such as treatment of lepers, the mentally ill, and HIV patients to illustrate this. This is but a basic and barely educated take on a lot of complicated philosophy, though, so you're better off doing your own research, or asking other users about it (try P-Foster, maybe Nebuchadnezzar). --"Shut up, Brx." 15:10, 13 April 2012 (UTC)

Going back to the original topic: I think most people would agree that H&S in theory and often in practice is A Good Thing. It is the red tape and mispresentations (generally coming under the heading 'Elf and Safety') that should be mocked/funspaced/WIGO'd. Can something be developed along these lines - referring to Wikipedia/appropriate guidelines for the 'rational' aspects. (talk) 15:17, 13 April 2012 (UTC)

As someone working in an environment that can kill I can say that the "health and safety gone mad" types simply don't get it, and often mischaracterise exactly what it's for and why it's important. There are two ways that H&S works. 1) legal arse-covering so that people can't get sued when something goes wrong 2) as actual risk awareness and accident reduction protocol. Now, I'm not denying that a lot of 1 exists, but most of it is 2 and evolving toward 2. Industry, for instance, comes down really hard with it and does it well as do modern academic departments (although they're notoriously lax by comparison), my student's union on the other hand (because I dealt with them for productions) only had an H&S officer to tick boxes until recently. In that latter case, one officer was concerned that people would get a splinter in their fingers from a piece of wood on stage but never bothered to check if the set would fall down and, you know, kill someone. But there is a very good reason that when I am supervision undergraduates in a lab I do two things; firstly I get them to actually write a plan out from scratch, and secondly I will ask them, unannounced, "are you sure you want to be doing that?" - because if the answer is "no" then they shouldn't be doing that! The entire point isn't to tick boxes, but to actually raise your awareness so that you're thinking actively about the risks you are taking. It might be boring and it might be repetitive, but accidents happen not when you do something dangerous but when you're overconfident or if you forget exactly how dangerous something is and how to deal with it most effectively. Its laziness and complacency that is the root cause of accidents, and H&S - and I mean Proper Fucking Risk Management - is about combating that. Anyway, most "health and safety gone mad" stories are made up or at the very least highly exaggerated. Scarlet A.pngd hominem 16:08, 13 April 2012 (UTC)

Most people can distinguish between 'practical reasons' and 'useful/agreed conventions' (from 'which side of the escalator to stand on' to 'putting this here and that there prevents spontaneous combustion') even if they are sometimes lazy/cutting corners and the 'jobsworths, "We do X because I say so, and blame H&S", straw men, newspaper rants end suchlike.' There is also no cure for deliberate stupidity (apart from a Darwin Award). Add HSE and equivalent websites, and 'H&S myths' websites to taste. (talk) 17:23, 17 April 2012 (UTC)


My sister-in-law who lives in N. California just told me about seeing a capsized motor-vessel this weekend with two kids (and their parents) clinging for their lives to the hull while another two were trapped inside. Not one of them was wearing a life-preserver. Redchuck.gif ГенгисIs the Pope a Catholic?Moderator 15:19, 7 November 2012 (UTC)

On the one hand, wearing a device designed to make you float up while you're stuck under something is a bit counter-productive, but still, those things are there for a f**king reason. Scarlet A.pngd hominemModerator 16:53, 9 November 2012 (UTC)

'Elf and safety[edit]

What are the E&S aspects of [2]? (talk) 16:16, 13 August 2014 (UTC)

Stargazing Live[edit]

This isn't really an example of health and safety, is it? The BBC dismisses it as "light hearted conversations" rather than regulation, in the linked article, I think Cox is just having an "elf and safety gone mad" moment. --Qwop (talk) 17:42, 19 November 2016 (UTC)

It's funny, it's sourced, and the quote mentions "health and safety" verbatim. No need to remove it, imo. Reverend Black Percy (talk) 18:01, 19 November 2016 (UTC)
It's a bit silly for the article to disapprovingly say "On most occasions, the story reported is a straw man argument and a misrepresentation of what happened." and then to start a new "Sometimes it really is that stupid" section which... does exactly that. --Qwop (talk) 19:05, 19 November 2016 (UTC)
We could probably use that little anecdote for something on the page. Don't remove, repurpose! Th hug.gif Reverend Black Percy (talk) 19:25, 19 November 2016 (UTC)

The third category[edit]

'I can see their logic/the point of the health and safety advice in question, but the label is still funny by its nature.'

Often it is easier/logical to put the same warning on all products/items regardless - and sometimes 'amusement works positively/makes you think.' (talk) 10:03, 2 May 2017 (UTC)