Sunday, 3 February 2013

Elf Anne Safety. February!

Elf Anne Safety.

These days it seems even the safest of occupations are a minefield of hidden hazards. No job today goes without a long list of rules and regulations. So let me introduce you to guest blogger Elf Anne Safety who will be bring you from time to time, a few snippets of the latest Elf news and Elf safety guidance from around the UK.

If you happen to come across any suitable items for inclusion please leave a comment on the blog.

For years, Wiltshire pensioner June Turnbell had done her bit for her local village by tending a council owned flower bed. The 79-year-old spent hundreds of pounds of her own money on plants and garden tools, but it still wasn't enough for council officials. They decided that her efforts breached safety rules because of a bend in the road beside the plot. If she was to continue, she would have to erect "Men at work" signs, wear a fluorescent jacket and even employ a look-out. The defiant pensioner said: "This is health and safety gone mad. They can send me to jail if they like."

A mother campaigning for safer working conditions after her son died in a chimney explosion is furious after a march in his memory was cancelled by Police because of health and safety regulations.

Fire-fighters have always risked their lives running into burning buildings and climbing high ladders, but they risked being grounded thanks to the Fire Brigades Union last year. Union officials in Humberside said that using stepladders to fit smoke alarms broke the rules over working at heights. While some fire-fighters said the move was unnecessary, Humberside brigade chiefs agreed to carry out a review.

A housing association has ordered the removal of fire extinguishers, door mats and wall signs from a block of flats saying that health and safety rules prevent them being there.

A swimming pool is one place where strict safety rules are needed, but even there it seems possible to get your priorities wrong. Pools in Bournemouth were told to stop lending inflatables to families who hadn't brought their own as they couldn't guarantee they'd be free of bacteria. Parents slammed the move, which was designed to stop them contracting bugs from blowing up rubber rings and water wings. One father said: "This is the nanny state gone mad. They would rather have children drown than have them catch someone's cold."

The same Housing Association has advised its tenants who live in a block of flats that their letter boxes need to be sealed for health and safety reasons, in case of a fire bomb attack.

The offices of the Health and Safety Executive should be the ideal place to stay out of danger. But even there, bosses have taken some puzzling precautions, including banning staff from moving chairs around in case they hurt themselves. Anyone wanting to move furniture was told to book a porter to do it, and give them 48 hours' notice. Labour peer Lord Berkeley raised the matter in the House of Lords after seeing notices explaining the rule during a visit to an HSE office.

Royal Mail has suspended deliveries to businesses on South Parade, Doncaster, during "adverse weather conditions" following an incident where a postman suffered a broken shoulder after slipping on the pavement.

You might imagine that radio presenter Chris Moyles would be immune from silly health and safety rules, but the BBC had other ideas. When the breakfast show presenter arrived in the studio with a birthday cake for sidekick Dave Vitty, he was told candles were banned due to fire risk, and he'd have to cut the cake with a plastic knife so he didn't hurt himself.

A school sports day has been cancelled by the head teacher due to wet ground conditions at their sports ground. The school claimed that this was because of health and safety concerns.

Workplace Law Bookshop Website: "In a culture where £200 is spent on teaching employees how to make a cup of tea safely it seems that employers are becoming increasingly risk averse in order to avoid being sued."

Includes a handy check-list of important questions such as:
  • PAT tested the kettle?
  • checked for vermin faeces in the teabag container?
  • checked the milk is in date?
  • considered the slips/trips risk of carrying tea?
  • checked the handle on the mug is secure?
  • waited for tea to cool to safe temperature.


  1. For Elf & Safety reasons I can't read any more of this as it makes my blood BOIL!

  2. Hello Dave.

    Elf Anne has much more to come - March and April postings are covered already. It's such a "idiot" rich subject to read about.




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