Health & Safety gets the better of Royal Marines

Health and safety defeats Marines who tackled Somali pirates - Telegraph

Members of HMS Montrose's counter-piracy team board hijacked ships using a technique called "fast roping" in which they slide down ropes without harnesses and with their hands protected by asbestos gloves. The men planned to display the technique at the event and were astonished to be told they would have to undertake training with an industrial rope-access firm.
They were also not allowed to simulate shooting pirates, who would instead have to give themselves up as part of a re-enactment of last year's successful Ocean Shield operation. The Marines were sent to a council facility in Edinburgh before health and safety officials at the local authority and the Historic Scotland agency approved the display.
They were shown how to abseil to the standards expected in an industrial environment and have not been allowed to "fast rope" in the show, which is performed every evening in August.
A senior military source said: "Historic Scotland thought everything looked far too dangerous and the Marines were told to tone everything down. That included abseiling down the walls of the castle and the re-enactment of the fast roping on to the 'captured' ship.
"The Marines were also not permitted to shoot the pirates. Instead all the bad guys surrender. It is all a bit sad really."
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Donald Bisset, a rope access expert at Web Rigging in Edinburgh, added: "They are trained in fast-roping, that is how they get on to the decks of ships that have been taken over by pirates.
"I don't think the council was very happy with that from a health and safety point of view so they were told they had to abseil. Someone at the council put them in touch with us.
"We just set up the ropes for them and were on hand to make sure they were doing it safely."
One member of the audience was not impressed. "I thought the re-enactment of taking over the pirate ship looked like something you would expect to see in a children's pantomime," said Ross McNeill, from Glasgow, who took his father, Bill. "I certainly don't think it would put off real-life pirates, it would just encourage them.
"My dad felt it had all been a bit emasculated by health and safety concerns. I remember going when I was younger and there were motorbike riders on see saws and a stunt where they took a gun apart, hoisted it over a wall and then reassembled it and fired it. That is the sort of thing you remember."
Alan Smith, a spokesman for the tattoo, denied that health and safety concerns had adversely affected the counter-piracy boarding unit's display, adding: "It is a matter of opinion whether there is a stunt or not. There are health and safety concerns with everything we do but nothing so far that has stopped us in our tracks."
Lesley Brown, of Historic Scotland, which is responsible for Edinburgh Castle, said all the procedures in the show had to be checked against health and safety standards and "risk assessed for impact to the castle".
What a joke, perhaps the council are worried an injured marine might sue someone if there was an accident? Just as people would in civdiv.

We don't do much abseiling from CVRT but whenever we've taken part in demonstrations, we've always killed the bad guys rather than offer them cups of tea and re-education.
You know you're a dick when your name is Alan Smith. It sounds a bit disappointing from the spectators point of view, it's not like they're going to be offended or traumatised watching some fake pirates not actually being shot as well.


Why didn't they just **** it off then? Surely the H&S mongs Could have done the display usinig sissor lifts and safety harnesses and used a powerpoint presentation instead of shooting the 'pirates'

It's elf n safety gone mad!!! :)
I hope all the Marines were wearing hi viz vests and they absieled in an Equality and Diversity advisor to ensure the Pirate were not discriminated against.
Health and Safety are still smarting from being fucked off that they couldn't enforce EU working regulations in the Outdoor activities sector.
they continued for quite a while even though the idea was bollocks.
a non slip surface and only climb in good weather on a crag in the lake district really?
Thing is how many of the H&S instructors were actually ex-Forces, and I would of loved to have been a fly on the wall for that course.
Next year the display will consist of a group of sailors performing synchronised blubbing in response to the wicked pirates stealing their iPods.


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Fallschirmjager said:
Is that the pirates or Marines who had to surrender?
Who mentioned ipods?

Alan Bachelor should be brought in as a consultant on correct form for acting surrendering. And I don't think the thespian Somalians (non - standard, non - ethnic obviously so as to not offend) will be able to claim asylum correctly when their 'fishing trawler' was fake - boarded by the booties.
Unfortunately its just another example of bad and lazy Health and Safety "professionals"

I deal with these idiots on a daily basis and the crap that is spouted as the Law and its illegal etc is bizarre.

Believe it or not H&S have actually band very little over the years, they have however given guidance on best safe practice, however this is always open to interpretation by the H&S mongs.

These guys are trained in a process that is recognised, the risk assessment is done by the MOD regarding this, they have had the correct training in the procedure so actually there is no reason for the H&S nazi to stop it.

Unfortunately the people who become these professionals very often forget common sense and the phrase "where reasonably practicable".

My personal favourite that i have come up against is the banning of step ladders on a site, however stilts were classed as perfectly safe to use!!!!! Mad
I was reading an item yesterday.The thrust being that company/business employees will tend to say something is banned by H+S when in reality the company is not set up for the task,or more likely,the employee can't be bothered to do the job in question.

See also Data Protection Act for further reading.
I doubt it was the H&S bods to blame, rather the lawyers advising against potential legal problems, if anything went wrong! As usual, the HSA get a slating for sloppy journalism!
The people who annoy me are those who simply go along with it. What would have happened if the Marines had smiled politely, done as requested during rehearsals, then fast-roped in and slotted the pirates for the performance?

Would anything worse have happened than a snotty letter to the MOD and no invite the following year?

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