Nanny Knows Best

Nanny Knows Best
Dedicated to exposing, and resisting, the all pervasive nanny state that is corroding the way of life and the freedom of the people of Britain.

Friday, April 13, 2007

The Health and Safety Gestapo

The Health and Safety Gestapo
Nanny's Health and Safety Gestapo are up to their old tricks again, by using "risk assessments" in order to try to control people's freedom.

The good people of Otley are up in arms about plans by Leeds council, to fence off a river in Wharfemeadows Park. In fact the residents are so "peeved" (can I use a word containing "pee"?) that they have set up the Wharfemeadows Action Group(WAG).

The cost to the taxpayer of this fence, by the way, will be £165K.

WAG are claiming that Leeds Council has grossly over-estimated the risks posed by the river, and that the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA), which has advised the council, has got the law wrong.

WAG have at least managed to delay Nanny, Leeds council has recently promised a consultation period and a public meeting ahead of any final decision.

WAG persuaded the council to delay, by presenting them with a document outlining 10 reasons why it believes the council has got it wrong.

WAG describe the RoSPA report, on which the council's plan is based was, as:

"seriously flawed and ignored several important

legal precedents and Law Lords' judgments

WAG member Linda Lukats said:

"In view of the overwhelming opposition from

the people of Otley to RoSPA's misguided and

excessive recommendations, we were not surprised

to hear that the council are now considering alternative proposals.

Unfortunately nobody has yet had the courtesy

or good sense to provide the people of Otley

with the details of these revised plans

and so we are not in a position to comment on them.

The campaign continues

Seemingly one of Nanny's real concerns is the danger of someone falling into the water, or rather the danger of the council being sued by someone who falls into the water.

So they don't give a stuff about the person, just their bank balance!

WAG say:

"The council has misled itself into thinking

that it would be legally liable for any injury

from entering the water unless it took the utmost pains

to make it physically difficult to get into the water.

This is incorrect

RoSPA's head of leisure safety, Peter Cornall, is unconvinced by WAG. He is most worried about the weir.


"There is a significant hazard in the

middle of the site (the weir) that would

need some kind of edge protection

ROSPA say that coping stones only 6in high were all that prevented people going into the weir waters, and these stones were a trip hazard.

Aha...the old "trip hazard"!

More than 2,000 people have signed a petition against the fence plans.

WAG will present the petition at a meeting of the council on April 18.

Nanny needs to understand that she cannot zeroise risk.

People will always do stupid things, and no matter what barriers Nanny erects; stupid people will try to circumvent them.

How many times do we hear of thick as shit teenagers running along railway lines, or climbing pylons?

A full an enjoyable life can only be had where you manage risk, not zeroise it.

The trouble with Nanny and her minions in her local councils is that they don't use commonsense, and that they don't give a damn about the quality of their "charges'" lives.


  1. Anonymous6:07 PM

    RoSPA and their clients just don't get it do they!

    As everyone from Tony B'liar downwards through Al Gore to the rest of the unelected eco-assembly have made clear, the greatest threat to humans, as individuals as well as groups, is global warming. Not weirs.

    Indeed the real problems of global warming can likely best be solved by reducing the stress on the planet caused by humans. Quickest and easiest solution would be to reduce the population by about 50%. Instant reduction and noe of this namby pamby long terms stuff the likes of Stern waffle on about.

    RoSPA and the Yorkshire council are so obviously singing from the wrong song sheet on this one that I am surprised they have not yet been visited by Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace accompanied by a plague of malaria carrying mosquitos.

    Let a few half brains fall in and pass over the weir and hope they don't survive. The reduced local consumption can be counted towards local carbon reduction targets.

    To do anything to prevent such natural wastage is so anti-planet that, Ken, you are quite right to associate the policy makers with desire to control so clearly those who expounded just such a philosophy. (Odd though that their boss seems to have been something of a green zealot before it became truly fashionable.)

    In fact it seems to me to be wrong to allow this debate to be carried forward by anyone when we have a clear duty to reduce the population in order to cut carbon output.

    On the other hand nowhere is the actual level of danger, as informed by the statistics for the number of deaths and near death through accidents at the site, even mentioned. It is just possible this is no more than the perception of a risk where none is proven. If they could turn this situation into a genuine risk with measurable results they could become the darlings of the optimum Population Trust and ecologists everywhere.

    RoSPA and the H&S people must be very confused about their role. Should they manage risk at the micro level to 'save' the odd life here and there; Or should they save humanity at the global level by allowing (or indeed encouraging)people to remove themselves from the population (and gene) pool?

    I expect they are feeling a bit fenced in on this one.


  2. Anonymous8:55 AM

    Grant, you are correct to assume that the Council is in fear of civil litigation. This country is developing a blame society, based predominantly on health and safety failures.

    However, I feel your assessment of the role of the health and safety practitioner is misguided and misleading. The vast majority of the outrageous 'health and safety gestapo' decisions being publiscised by the press are by and large not taken by qualified and responsible health and safety practitioners like myself. They are taken by individuals who feel that banning a particular action, or implementing extreme measures such as the fence in this example, is the most sensible course of action to avoid any legal repercussions. This is often untrue.

    As I'm sure you know, health and safety legislation extends not only to workers, but also members of the public. In my experience, the majority of safety and health practitioners take a highly sensible view to managing risk, and would not take extreme measures to prevent people living their lives, having fun, ect.

    What annoys me is that websites like this and the various tabloids that publish 'nanny state nonesense' articles fail to see that through hard work, dedication and sensible risk management, the people of my profession are saving thousands of lives every year and helping to make workplaces as safe as possible, which is something that we are all entitled to.

    I wonder whether your reaction would change, if, in the example you have commented on, it was a member of your family, perhaps your child, that fell into the river and was lost to you. Would you be so cynical of the Council's plans then? Or would you be the first to litigate against your loss?

    The sensible people of my profession do good work and its about time our successes are recognised, as opposed to the failures of non-qualified individuals.

    Mr John Shahabeddin
    Chartered Safety & Health Practitioner