I dont know if this is the right place, its news, it is current affairs and has been in just about every persons working life for the last few years or so! but Mods please move if in the wrong spot! BBC News - Fire chief says health and safety law 'prevents rescue' I am a Health and Safety Ninja (In construction), But I must say sometimes H&S people really give themselves a bad name. The HSE per se is not a ridiculous organisation with ridiculous rules and regs, but the rules and regs are left open to a hell of a lot of wrong interpretation by H&S 'Professionals' (and the way some of the Inspectors interpret the rules and regs leaves a lot to be desired too!) Take conkers being banned in schools, the HSE never had a view on conkers, If I recall correctly NO SCHOOL banned conkers it was a press story made up to highlight the 'intrusiveness and absurdity' of Health and safety. Another example...ladders Shortly after I started my job in H&S a directive came down through then company I was working for 'HSE Bans work off ladders' I beleived it, many still do, The HSE has NEVER banned working from ladders! There are two reasons why the there are specific Health and Safety Regulations, Someone somewhere in the past has been killed or injured by a work activity. And in the past organisations have been sued/prosecuted because somones loved one has been killed or someone has been injured by a work activity. Nothing in the regs has been written or formulated for the hell of it! Companies can protect themselves from litigation/prosecution if they have good HSE practices because they protect the workers from injury. The workers can protect themselves by following the company HSE procedures properly..easy peasy (if it was I wouldnt have a job!) However certain public services are by their very nature inherently dangerous, Police, Fire brigade, The Military and more so nowadays the Ambulance service. Because the nature of the job is dangerous doesnt mean that those working in that job should not have as much protection as possible. A soldier is a risk of injured or killed on operations, but should the soldier be at risk injury or death in training for those operations? The Ambulance service are at risk from RTA's and Violent patients, shouldnt they be given the training and equpment to reduce those risks? Should police officers risk their lives and the lives of the public in a high speed car chase if there is no other direct risk to life from the 'offenders'? Should a copper chase a crim onto the roof of a building and risk a fall if there is no direct risk to someones life from that crim? Should a fireman walk onto railway lines without express confirmation from a rail engineering manager that the lines are not under power? (as in the 7/7 tube bombings) Should a fireman walk into a burning building to save lives? The problem with ANY work activity is that we have humans carrying out the work. I myself am in work (most of the time) because on construction sites, the contractors WILL try to save cash, usually cutting safety measures to do so, if they are allpowed to get away with it. The workers WILL take short cuts or use the wrong equipment or use equipment they arent trained on etc etc, to save time or work, IF they can get away with it. I personally think that the main reason why 'Health and safety has gone mad' is because just as we have dilligent, honest, hard working people in every walk of life, we also have lazy, whining, people who will take the easiest option and complain/sue when things go wrong! And that includes the Police, the Fire brigade the Ambulance service and the Military I read of a police force who sent a directive around saying that sharp/bulky objects were not allowed to be carried in the leg pockets on their cargo style pants in case they fall and land on the leg with the objects causing injury. There wasnt a previous directive saying they MUST carry sharp/bulky objects, so why have a directive saying they mustn't? Because some Police association bod has 'flagged it up' as a cause of concern (why?) or because somebody has already had such an accident and has complained/sued! I also read of a Paramedic who was disciplined for not attending a heart attack victim who was 15 mins away from his location, as he was on a statutory rest break. An ambulance had to be called from another location about 40 mins away and the heart attack victim died before it got to her! Was the paramedic's stautory break so important that he was willing to let someone die for it? As for the fire brigade, surely you KNOW before joining the firebrigade, that there is the possibility of having to enter a burning building if people are still alive in there? if you are not willing to risk your life to save others, why be in the Fire Brigade? Likewise if you see a load of injured people stumbling along a railway track and they are NOT getting zapped by the power line, and a station worker (OK not the manager) tells you the power is off. How on earth can you not feel compelled to go in and help! Because your Boss is frightened that he will be prosecuted if you or a colleague did get zapped? I feel that few jobs are so important that you need to die for it, definitely not in the commerical/industrial world, however there are some jobs where by their very nature you must take risks to save the lives of others. If not what is the point of having these jobs! And as long as you have had the best training and equipment available you should neither be able to sue your employers or your employers be prosecuted by the HSE if your particular job may demand levels of courage and risk that us normal folk dont expect to face!