Killjoys put lives at risk

Tuesday, 29 April, 2008

Lives are being put at risk by ‘jobsworths and killjoys’ who hide behind health and safety legislation, according to Dr David Brown, chief executive at the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE).

Citing examples including the banning of Christmas lights and practical science in school classrooms, Brown called on engineers to fight back against nonsensical interpretations of health and safety law and said that safety management must be based on an understanding of real risks — not trivia.

“Should the misreading of health and safety law continue, there is a real danger that when a genuine hazard arises, those who draw attention to it will be ignored, putting lives at risk as a result,” said Brown.

“Engineers should protest loud, long and often against the abuse of health and safety by the jobsworth and the killjoy. The profession must reclaim balanced and rational safety management, based on engineering common sense.”

Brown highlighted the role of chemical engineers as professionals with the skills to interpret safety legislation with common sense. He also said that it was not the regulators or legislators to blame, rather the people who repeatedly use the mantra ‘health and safety says No!’ as an excuse.


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