Political Correctness - Health & Safety Rules

Auld-Yin

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#1
Please read the following in today's Scotland on Sunday, especially the bit about 'Cotton Wool Military'.

http://scotlandonsunday.scotsman.com/index.cfm?id=1068392006

Army pipers can't believe their ears
MURDO MACLEOD
(mmacleod@scotlandonsunday.com)
THEY have led soldiers into battle and frightened the enemy with their noise, while becoming one of Scotland's most enduring musical icons.

But the skirl of the traditional Scottish bagpipes is now under threat - from health and safety inspectors.

Soldiers learning to play the revered instrument have been issued with strict new guidelines aimed at preventing servicemen suffering hearing problems.

As well as wearing ear protectors, the guidelines insist that pipers should only play for a maximum of 24 minutes a day outside, and only 15 in practice rooms.

The guidelines also say they should restrict themselves to six minutes in echoey toilets with tiled walls - the common retreat for pipers practising their skills in glorious seclusion.

Army health and safety inspectors say the guidelines are intended to save both pipers and drummers, who also face practice restrictions, from hearing damage.

But the guidelines have been dismissed by piping experts and army veterans, including one who led his comrades into battle while playing the pipes, as "ridiculous".

The guidelines are based on a study carried out by the Army Medical Directorate Environmental Health Team and obtained by Scotland on Sunday under Freedom of Information legislation.

The report into the effects of bagpipe-playing says pipers risk damaging their hearing after just 24 minutes playing outside or 15 minutes in the practice rooms typically used for piping by the military.

If a musician plays outside for 24 minutes then he would have reached his daily "noise ration" for the whole day.

The report says: "Pipers, buglers and drummers can easily exceed allowable daily noise exposure limits in the course of their normal practice.

"All pipers and drummers should be classified as 'at risk of hearing damage' and subject to annual testing," the report says.

"The feasibility of providing hearing protection for pipers and drummers should be examined," it adds

The tests were run because the military feared the possibility of having to pay compensation to soldiers who might argue that their hearing had been damaged by too much pipe-playing.

The Ministry of Defence already makes special payments to personnel whose hearing has been affected by working on rifle ranges or in other loud environments.

Army experts tested the loudness and sound pressure of playing bagpipes in a variety of locations to the tune 'Kilworth Hills'. In addition to testing the volume levels outside, they also conducted the tests in rooms of different sizes and with a variety of wall coverings.

They even tested how loud the pipes sounded in a gents' toilet with a tiled wall, where they concluded the maximum permissible noise exposure should be just six minutes.

In addition, plastic chanters were found to be louder and potentially more damaging than the sound from old-fashioned wooden ones. When played outdoors, the tests found that the bagpipe peaks at 111 decibels, slightly louder than a pneumatic drill and much louder than a police siren.

But when the pipes are played indoors they peak at a 116 dB, about as loud as a chainsaw. Very loud rock music can reach 150 dB, while a jet airliner taking off peaks at 140 dB.

The practice guidelines are not expected to affect performances. A typical pipe tune lasts less than two minutes, but tunes are often played in medleys or sets of four lasting up to six minutes. A performance at special events such as the Edinburgh Tattoo, which starts its run this week on the Castle Esplanade, will typically last about eight minutes.

Former servicemen said the guidelines would hit daily practice. General Sir Michael Gow, formerly of the Scots Guards, said: "I have never heard such a silly idea in my life. It's the whole health and safety culture gone mad. Whoever comes up with these ideas shouldn't be paid and certainly shouldn't be listened to."

Bill Lark, a veteran Black Watch piper who led his comrades into action against the Japanese in 1944, was also unimpressed.

Lark said: "I think these warnings are just ridiculous. I have been playing the pipes since I started learning with the Boys' Brigade at the age of 12. I'm now 85. I still play and there's nothing wrong with my hearing.

"The pipes should be played loudly, that's how they inspire soldiers and scare the enemy."

Roddy MacLeod, the principal of the National Piping Centre in Glasgow and three times winner of the Glenfiddich Piping Championship, said: "If you are practising to become a serious piper, you cannot do so within these kinds of limits. You need at least an hour a day on the bagpipes. I'm afraid that 15 or 24 minutes just isn't long enough for practice."

A spokesman for the Edinburgh Military Tattoo said: "While this MoD document is certainly interesting, it relates mainly to indoor activity.

Exposure to noise levels in a large arena such as the esplanade of Edinburgh Castle is unlikely to prove harmful."

A spokeswoman for the army in Scotland said the fact it had produced this document showed it was serious about protecting soldiers. "Some might say it's too PC, but it is simply a prudent precaution. Other soldiers are subject to noise safety measures, so it is only sensible to protect soldiers from those noise levels, wherever they may occur," she said.

FRONT LINE OF A 'COTTON WOOL' MILITARY
THE UK military lost their traditional immunity from health and safety legislation in 2000, with an exemption only applying when the forces are on active service.

Until then, soldiers, sailors and airmen were unable to take legal action against the armed forces for injuries received while working for them.

It emerged soon afterwards that experts were monitoring how noisily sergeant-majors were shouting at new recruits amid risks that soldiers were being shouted at so loudly that their hearing might be damaged.

It was also reported in 2000 that a number of changes had been made to assault courses, such as lower climbing walls and mats under some obstacles to reduce the chance of injury. The changes were ridiculed as the first stage in developing a "cotton-wool army".

In 2003 it was announced that eye-safe practice lasers had been developed to allow army pilots to train at firing their weapons without damaging their eyesight. The £20m devices were used as range-finders during firing exercises as part of the Apache helicopter training programme.

And earlier this year it emerged that the Royal Artillery was testing quieter cannon rounds for their 21-gun salutes. The new shells were a more ear-friendly 135 decibels, compared with the regular 140dB.
 
#2
Playing the piano will be restricted next, for fear of RSI. How about playing drums too... potentially RSI and hearing problems.

Have these people really got nothing better to do? :omfg:
 
#3
Well if they deem bagpipes as a health risk,
surely combat is much more of a health risk ?
 
#5
If people didn’t keep fu*king suing for breaking a finger nail or scrapping a knee, people who think up these stupid regulations would be sent back to the pasty little offices where they originated.

However, because individuals are now urged to claim compensation for absolutely everything, read the bizarre advice sometimes given even on this website.

We reap what we sow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 
#6
And earlier this year it emerged that the Royal Artillery was testing quieter cannon rounds for their 21-gun salutes. The new shells were a more ear-friendly 135 decibels, compared with the regular 140dB.
The local ACF detachment (RA badged) organise our Remembrance Sunday Parade and include a gun fired to mark the start and end of the 2 minutes silence. Although the bangs are expected and the gun is more than 100m away, I still jump. Christ knows what it does for the elderly veterans present.

The real point of my post, though, is that the concussion sets off car alarms, therefore the first minute of the Silence is interrupted by multiple two-tone sirens. Quieter saluting rounds may not be such a daft idea, after all.
 
#7
putteesinmyhands said:
And earlier this year it emerged that the Royal Artillery was testing quieter cannon rounds for their 21-gun salutes. The new shells were a more ear-friendly 135 decibels, compared with the regular 140dB.
The local ACF detachment (RA badged) organise our Remembrance Sunday Parade and include a gun fired to mark the start and end of the 2 minutes silence. Although the bangs are expected and the gun is more than 100m away, I still jump. Christ knows what it does for the elderly veterans present.

The real point of my post, though, is that the concussion sets off car alarms, therefore the first minute of the Silence is interrupted by multiple two-tone sirens. Quieter saluting rounds may not be such a daft idea, after all.
I'm sure the veterans dont flinch! They may well be used to it.

Car alarms going off is not a lack of respect, they dont know the difference. Someone whining that they are too noisy needs to have a bayonet passed through their neck.
 
#8
Although if the judicial system didn't accept half these claims, it wouldn't be so easy. The government needs to lead from the front with the judicial system.

Jo Bloggs is bombarded with "ambulance chaser" ads on the TV, e.g. "have you fallen over at work?" Jo's sitting there thinking, "Erm no... but give me half an hour and I'll manage something."

The chaser then merrily leads Jo down the compensation path. Employers/councils/local authorities then get hit with higher insurance premiums and it turns into one vicious circle.

Small employers (and I run 3 small companies) are being driven into the ground by both employment and H&S legislation to prevent everything under the sun as well as being nabbed for higher and higher insurance.

At least the personal injury lawyers are authorised. As for financial services... none of the "have you been mis-sold anything, are you absolutely sure now?" type ambulance chasers don't even have to be regulated. That's a whole worse scenario than the PI debacle!
 
#9
The Lord Flasheart said:
Someone whining that they are too noisy needs to have a bayonet passed through their neck.
Bit harsh, Lord Flashheart :lol:
 
#10
But ultimately fair, I think you’ll find.

Probably get sued because the knife wasn’t sharp enough and it didn’t cut cleanly enough
 

Cutaway

LE
Kit Reviewer
#11
ruby2shoes said:
Although if the judicial system didn't accept half these claims, it wouldn't be so easy. The government needs to lead from the front with the judicial system.

...
Now you're just being silly !
 
#12
CAARPS said:
If people didn’t keep fu*king suing for breaking a finger nail or scrapping a knee, people who think up these stupid regulations would be sent back to the pasty little offices where they originated.

However, because individuals are now urged to claim compensation for absolutely everything, read the bizarre advice sometimes given even on this website.

We reap what we sow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Spot on Caarps

I used to get mad when I'd hear these stories, but now I think don't shoot the messenger shoot the idle free riding fcukers who spend their whole life trying to claim a living :pissedoff:

Still my sympathy store is even more depleted with this story and I'm surprised it has taken this long to see scot piping as a H&S risk 8O

Everyone knows it takes an Irishman to play the pipes :salut:
 
#13
Health and Safety is about to ban smoking across the Army (including banning smoking in Ph1 establishments entirely - not ban in messes or in buildings, but entirely)... smoking in:

The POL compound? bad
The ammo compound? bad
With a coffee in the mess? Far, far too dangerous to contemplate

PS I'm a non-smoker (ok... occassional cigar after dinner)
 
#14
As H&S officer, unfortunately I see this sort of stuff on a depressingly regular basis! H&S, if used properly and sensibly, is designed to mitigate (not completely eliminate) workplace accidents and keep the workforce working.

Unfortunately, H&S law tends to get hijacked to push through unpopular and stupid decisions made by poorly-qualified and ill-advised half-wits who don't seem to know any better, because they still perceive H&S as a "black art". And that really spoils it for the sensible advisors who are trying to come up with the most reasonable options when trying to balance the requirements of the law against the requirements of the workplace.

I sooooo expect to be slated for this..............! :D
 
#17
Can you imagine the scene?
The troops have marched on to the square, been dressed off, then inspected, all to the music of the Pipes and Drums.
Then comes the command, "The parade will march past, in slow and in quick time, "A" Company leading".
Up speaks the Drummie, "Sorry sir, we've exceeded our daily allowance of playing time, we're for the offski!"

Is this the intention of the H&S Nazis? :evil:
 
#18
At the end of the day all of these claims that go to court will obviously end up in front of a judge who will have to decide what level of compensation to award. If several of these old fools hadn't awarded silly money to idiots on a regular basis in the past, there would be no 'compensation culture', because it wouldn't be worth it for the parasitical lawyers to spend their time on it. It's the judge's fault, plain and simple. The others are just following the money.

Get some common sense sitting in the head chair in a court, turn off the money tap and the whole industry would collapse very quickly.
 
#19
I agree - whilst I have no misgivings about genuine incidents that should be appropriately investigated and compensated, the rise of the "blame & claim" culture makes my job so much harder. And from that stems the daft advice that gets me so narked! Organisations, especially public organisations, need to fight some of these claims instead of settling out of court at the first whiff of a lawsuit - which will cut these dodgy claims by a large proportion!
 
#20
Churchill: Right then Mr Montgomery off to North Africa with you and give the Hun a bashing

Montgomery: Well Sir we would but after doing a risk acessment we found that we would be putting the soldiers (work people) under severe risk of injury, also 90% of the army haven't been on the Health and safety lifting course or even know what COSH is so are not able to lift heavey pack/ammo or move anything that is chemical.

Churchill: Just move your *** out there and tell the men to fight

Montgomery: can you give me that in writing please so I can show at the court cases that I made you aware of the dangers of your work place policy :p


Laugh Hitler et al would have pissed themselves laughing
 

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