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« The wisdom of Solomon | Main | A challenge »
Saturday
Jun192010

School fete

Today was the school fete. I was on carparking duty. Health and Safety has decreed that someone wearing a high-vis jacket must be in attendance at the carpark throughout the event. For the first hour, I was that person.

The fete began at 1pm. By the time I arrived at the carpark at 12:59, it was just about full, parents having proven remarkably adept at parking their cars without my assistance. This is perhaps not surprising as most of them use the carpark on a daily basis when they are on the school run.

Over the next hour I waved a few latecomers away and sat in the sunshine reading the newspaper. My high-vis jacket was quite useful as a cushion. I must have turned away about ten cars, most of which were subsequently parked in the road outside the carpark. I wasn't sure if my remit extended to the street so I left them to do this unassisted. They too seemed to manage quite well without me.

Later I went down to the fete itself. The tents had red and white tape tied to the guy ropes. This is apparently a rule laid down by Health and Safety. The scones were unbuttered, since this is not permitted by Health and Safety either. There were no sandwiches,since these apparently pose an unacceptable risk to the public.

The risk assessment had concluded that a tug of war is too dangerous so we didn't do that this year. I was reminded of the school sports day last week when parents were asked if anyone had safety concerns over their children taking part in the three-legged race. Apparently Health and Safety will be angry if this question isn't asked.

Strange day really.

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Reader Comments (60)

School fete day for me as well today, but under a different Health and Safety god, no hi-vis attendants, sweets made by kids, cakes made by anyone, burgers grilled by amateurs. The question as ever is who is this Health and Safety? It isn't the law, it isn't even the EU, it probably isn't the Insurance company? It is a herd cowardice. It needs challenging by just asking by asking "Who says so?" at every opportunity.
Geoff's Chilli at the annual All Cannings Chilli CookOff certainly wouldn't pass any Health and Safety inspection, but it is always the star of the show as we say Boo to the nannies.

Jun 19, 2010 at 9:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Englishman

It tolls for thee, so we can blame thee.
=============

Jun 19, 2010 at 10:05 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

My main health and safety worry at the moments is about the way the clinically insane are now allowed to roam about freely without minders or straight-jackets. The corridors at Westminster must be very dangerous places for these folks.

Jun 19, 2010 at 10:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterIan E

Scones with no butter? Scones with no butter? Scones...
Jam, then. Was that and/or clotted cream allowed?
A biscuit, my kingdom for a biscuit... Or was that not allowed as well?

Jun 19, 2010 at 10:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterFred Harwood

Oh what a wunderful risk-free world! But how did our ancestors survive all those risks?

Jun 19, 2010 at 11:05 PM | Unregistered Commentercogito

wot The Englishman says - challenge this stuff every time "where does it say this?"; "Refer me to the specific statute" - and don't accept "it's council policy" as an answer - get to the specific law..........

Jun 19, 2010 at 11:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterHysteria

Of course there is nothing stopping you from making butter available so that people may apply the evil spread at their own risk.

Mailman

Jun 20, 2010 at 12:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterMailman

Fear not! Sir Eric Pickles rides to your rescue and he looks as full of buttered scones as anyone I have seen these last few years.

Jun 20, 2010 at 12:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterDung

The problem is that the populace seems to be increasingly receptive to this mothering. My local newspaper recently ran a letter from a citizen who referred to potatoes, rice, sugar, salt, flour and bread as "the white death".

Jun 20, 2010 at 1:17 AM | Unregistered CommenterDanC

You should try California, the Mother of all Nanny States. But, then again, in a year or two, you will have it too.

Jun 20, 2010 at 1:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra

At my last school fete (it was a while ago) I was regaled by a passing “choir” of pupils whose opening line was:-

“E by gum, aint it fun shooting peas up a nanny goat’s bum?”

I wonder how many of today’s rules would be infringed by that? And just how much fun, innocence and the beauty of gradual awareness we have deprived our children of.

Just to comply with today’s PC requirements, I must explain that it was a scorching hot summer day, that is, the weather was good. Not unprecedented, just enjoyable, something we used to be allowed to do, enjoy being alive. Didn’t need to be told how to do it, we just did.

The world and its climate is fine, but homo sapiens (wise or knowing man) has a problem, for he has evolved into homo superbus (arrogant man), the species that deems to think he can control the climate of this planet. Canute you were a mere amateur compared to the present breed!

Jun 20, 2010 at 2:01 AM | Unregistered CommenterGreen Sand

Must be hard to be a good chemistry, physics, or biology teacher, in the absence practical demonstration. Hence the over production of 'climatologists' in the UK.

Jun 20, 2010 at 2:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterZT

Bishop: I hope you received proper training and accreditation as a car park attendant (no doubt now called motorised vehicle stationary location supervisor).

If you see Christopher Booker's latest article at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/christopherbooker/7840619/David-Cameron-learns-whos-in-charge.html you will see it's all down to our unelected lords and masters at the EU. Quote:

"When Lord Young of Graffham was appointed last week to knock some sense into our plethora of crazy health and safety laws, such as those governing the use of ladders, who would have guessed that, since the Single European Act of 1986, the power to make laws on health and safety has been handed over to Brussels?"

Jun 20, 2010 at 7:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

If you are really keen about this, you might like to followup and ask the school to show you the actual words from HSE regulations which make these "controls" real for this fete. You'll likely find that the words and such guidance does not exist. The school probably invented these rules as they were afraid of the risk, or they had specific information from their insurance policy where they agreed to impose these controls in return for a lower insurance premium.

Normal people can't do risk assessment. Nothing new there.

Jun 20, 2010 at 8:17 AM | Unregistered CommenterRob Schneider

The big problem with just about all H & S law of the last 20 years is that it is extremely badly written and is usually very vague as well. A few years ago I was landed with the job of ensuring my employers complied with current H & S law in that field and its a nightmare. The problem is that laws tend to use the word "reasonable" an awful lot. Every few years some case arrives in court where a barrister successfully argues that an employer didn't do something that was "reasonable" to protect his client (who usually appears to be an idiot). After that I have to ensure that any entirely harmless piece of electrical equipment is tested yearly and that I have the documentation to prove this. Thus the wording of the H & S law itself justifies almost anything.

Sadly none of this will change until H & S law is written by people who have some connection to the real world.

Jun 20, 2010 at 9:33 AM | Unregistered Commenter1327

The real problem is not the emphasis on safety, which is excellent. We need factories, roads (especially roads) and work and recreation places generally to be safe.

The problem is with the way H&S now operate. There is an underlying assumption that all you have to do is identify a supposed risk, and then mandate remedial action. You do not, in this mindset, have to look a the situation carefully, identify the risk, identify the risks in the solution, compare the two, and show that risk has actually been reduced.

We consequently have absurd sorts of 'precautions' being taken, which can actually increase danger.

The underlying mind set is similar to the 'precautionary principle' in climate change, and it is also similar to the principle that is being used to justify mass dosing of the population with some sorts of drugs - statins or cholesterol lowering agents, as well as SSRIs.

The ultimate problem with the approach is that it produces a total and quite wrong contempt for safety considerations of the most basic sort. It is, for instance, statistically indubitable that if one lowers average road speed in a given area, deaths and serious injuries will fall. Accident rates will fall, and their consequences become less serious.

Yet we do not do this, but we have armies of people rushing around forcing all kinds of totally ineffective 'precautions' on the country, while this basic and reasonable stuff is then dismissed as yet another irrational and hysterical prescription, which it is not.

I heard of a case the other day. Some cleaners are being made to go to a one day course on how to use ladders. Of course, they should be taught how to use ladders safely. It should be enforced. It should take no more than an hour. And the real cause of ladder problems, lack of workplace discipline, will not be addressed.

MRSA is another example. We spend lots of time in education, in making visitors use handcleaning dispensers. But the thing which would be, and used to be, effective, tight workplace discipline of nurses to rigorously enforce handwashing, complete with immediate termination for cause if its not done, that is something H&S stays well clear of.

H&S has turned into the disease of our time - the introduction of measures which are ineffective in their own terms to remedy the problem which allegedly motivates them.

Jun 20, 2010 at 10:05 AM | Unregistered Commentermichel

The problem is that laws tend to use the word "reasonable" an awful lot.

Agreed along with "scare" articles that use the words "may cause", "potentially lead to", "possibly be".

I recently cited an article on a forum about windscreen washer fluid and legionnaires disease that used the above in the article. It turns out that approx 50 people die in a year from legionnaires disease some of which contract it from abroad, some from air con systems in buildings, some from air con systems in hospitals!.

As a consequence of the research we should be concerned about using our windscreen washers particularly if we happen to be a van driver or drive through industrial areas.

I guess that opens up some opportunities for ambulance chasers.

Jun 20, 2010 at 10:12 AM | Unregistered Commenterstephen lewis

Cogito

But how did our ancestors survive all those risks?

I think you'll find the vast majority didn't and as a consequence are mostly dead and buried now!

No doubt that's entirely because their unenlightened govt.s hadn't yet legislated death and injury, personal responsibility, being a grown-up, winners & losers and global warming out of existence.

The problem with H&S legislation is that it's inconsistent and incompatible with anti GW legislation. By outlawing death & injury the human population will grow needlessly along with its evil consumptive and polluting habits. The entire western world's self-described "progressives" who dominate the media, intelligentsia, ruling politicians & bureaucrats, with nary an O level in physics or maths between them, nevertheless contend this irrefutably causes disastrous climate change, leading to death & injury. Which is of course, illegal, under aforesaid H&S.

Therefore any credible plan for tackling GW will require the repeal of all H&S legislation on a global scale as a matter of utmost urgency, along with the wholesale criminalisation of the accident & injury compensation industry.

What's it to be then Nanny? H&S and prizes for all? Or the fate of the planet?

Jun 20, 2010 at 10:41 AM | Unregistered CommenterDrew

Yep. People are not equipped or empowered to resist "must do something" approach to risk management. As michel says: "There is an underlying assumption that all you have to do is identify a supposed risk, and then mandate remedial action." This is more than an assumption--it is an expectation of people's peers, bosses, and subordinates. I've seen this in action in companies which have what they proudly say is a "strong risk management" process (meaning: a large bureaucracy set up to "manage" risk) where once an issue/problem/risk gets on the so-called "Risk Register" the only way it can get off is by "doing something". It's very "risky" for people to step forward and support the "do-nothing" case (to accept the risk) since they lose some credibility by taking such a politically-incorrect position, and worse "should something happen", related or not to the perceived risk they tend to have all credibility demolished.

We point our finger at HSE or whatever on these issues and sadly three fingers often point back at the culprit.

Jun 20, 2010 at 10:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterRob Schneider

I hope there weren’t any pot holes in the car park or maybe they call them divots in Scotland where anyone could twist their ankle.

Jun 20, 2010 at 10:52 AM | Unregistered Commentermartyn

Did you have to produce your enhanced CRB check?

Jun 20, 2010 at 12:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterPharos

I think stephen lewis has grasped the wrong end of the stick on the screen wash issue. The research simply threw up an interesting sideline regarding the incidence of "non-institutional" legionaires disease (ie the cases contracted outside hospitals, leisure centres, etc.).
There appeared to be a correlation between using (bactericidal) screen wash and a reduced incidence of the disease as compared with drivers who used plain water.
Given the means of spreading the disease (fine water droplets) and the source (stagnant warm water) this correlation at least had the benefit of logic.
And why would you not use additive anyway?
As for the original point, the EU itself disputes that its H&S legislation is intended to be implemented in the way it is.
We could do with a few more robust decisions from the courts similar to the one a couple of years ago where a youth (drunk, allegedly) dived into a public pond in spite of a notice saying it was shallow and telling people not to do it and tried to sue the local authority. The judge gave him short shrift. I take the view that the whole H&S ethos in the UK is part of the ongoing infantilisation of the populace. We are led to expect government (at all levels and in all its manifestations) to protect us from all eventualities. When they fail to do so, a certain section of
m'learned friends is only to happy to pursue our grievance on a no-win, no-fee basis.
Abolition of that aspect of the legal system would go a long way to restoring some common sense into the system, I think.

Jun 20, 2010 at 12:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterSam the Skeptic

There are a number of contributing factors to this, but a common one is that 'someone' - be it the head teacher, the Local Education Authority, the insurers - is gold-plating and diamond-encrusting what the law actually requires. The current head of the HSE actually comes across as quite a sensibe woman, and has pointed out that it isn't actually necessary to write a multi-volume risk assessment for every activity schoolkids get involved with, but all too often there is 'someone' in the chain of bureaucracy who deems it must be done. The HSE aren't blameles here; they are guilty of indirect gold-plating of EU rules when they publish Approved Codes of Practice and such like alongside the actual legal requirments (a classic example is the maximum weight a person is permitted to manually - it isn't quantified in the legislation, but an 'example' given in the Code of Practice is frequently quoted as 'the law').

The result is headteachers who are so tied up with the concept that they must 'guarantee' the safety of their pupils that they've become ridiculously risk-averse (numerous examples have been reported in the press: banning rough'n'tumble games from the playgroud; wearing goggles to play conkers; closing schools when there's a bit of ice on the pavement; cancelling a joint sports day because they couldn't 'guarantee' that an adult who wasn't a parent might access the school sportsfield. Quite how we survived our junior school days I can't imagine: Bulldog was a favourite playtime game, the conker season was keenly fought, the school was up a steep hill and never closed because of winter weather in all the time I was there (one playground was on a slope which was good for ice-sliding), sportsday was in a public park because the school itself had no sportsfield. Even when the individual responsible for daft 'H&S' decisions can be identified - it often is the headteacher, but sometimes it's just 'the rules' - the actual legal basis is frequently elusive, there is a lot of fear of litigation.

Jun 20, 2010 at 12:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterDaveS

Here in France our Fête Patronale will take place next weekend. Risk assessment for the tug of war consists of making sure there is a spare rope (in case the first one breaks like it did two years ago).

Jun 20, 2010 at 12:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterDreadnought

Just attended an open event at the Chateau Sediere, in Correze, France. Exrensive parking organised and controlled by the gendarmerie (very efficiently, too). Stalls selling all manner of foodsuffs, cooked and uncooked, and manned barbecues available so that cooking of any raw items purchased there (or brought with you) can be done in your absence whilst you're wandering round the site. You return at a pre-appointed time. Lots of activities for the kids.
Not a Health and Safety rule, or enforcing person to be seen. About 5000 visitors in their cars, by the time we left after lunch. This event occurs every year, and is very popular.

Oh, and there are ponds, a huge lake, woods and other nasties all around, too.

In the UK, you are forbidden to enjoy yourselves, think for yourselves, or do anything without either permission, or some nosey sod watching your activities on cctv.

This is a REAL country - for the time being, at least...

Jun 20, 2010 at 12:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterNatsman

Your Grace

Did you have Scottish Country Dancing at your fete? Now that really is dangerous. At the last ceilidh I went to, someone was stretchered off with a ruptured tendon.

Jun 20, 2010 at 12:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterDreadnought

What about your safety, your grace?

Were the cars required to have ABAs? Audible Backup Alerts? Were you required to brandish and otherwise employ an LNE (Loud Noise Effectuator)?

What could they have been thinking?

Maybe next year the cars will be required to appear in international orange paint.

Jun 20, 2010 at 1:01 PM | Unregistered Commenterj ferguson

You mean, some people want to define and dictate each and every tiny aspect of your lives, and you give it a cute name like 'nanny'.

Jun 20, 2010 at 2:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterShub Niggurath

I was recently working in a Governement Body, where we had a very enthusisatic H&S officer. Every form was filled in corrrectly, safety notices abounded and as we largely dealt with dangerous stuff like Inovices and Council Tax Bills together with occasional extremely hazardous Purhcase Orders we were regularly exhorted and required to do Health and Safety Assessments of our workplace

It so happened that I had a mild headache before an important engagement so casually asked our H&S officer (also our First Aider) for a paracetamol from the First Aid chest.

Horror! Ashen-faced at my request she forcefully explained that there was no way she would even contemplate keeping such drugs in her domain, let alone 'dispense' them without full Pharamaceutical training. What if I were to suffer a hiterhto unknown allergic reaction and die? My estate would likely sue her personally for negligence. Better that I had the headache than she took that huge risk (I am 55 and have taken paracetamol without problems since I was a nipper)

But she did offer some helpful advice. There was a corner shop within 200 yards who sold paracetamol. If I would walk that far, the owner (to whom I was completely unknown) would happily sell me a packet of these dangerous medications over the counter in cash, no questions asked. If they subsequently killed me it didn't matter - so long as the H&S officer couldn't be blamed in any way.

It was apparent to me that the entire H&S edifice has nothing to do with Health and little to do with Safety...just the avoidance of litigation...and the employment of those without any talent other than interfering in others' lives.


And the Government agency concerned? The Ministry of Defence. Happy to send brave young men to war in inadequate vehicles and without proper equipment. But incapable of providing a paracetamol for a memebr of staff for H&S reasons. An utterly and completely pathetic organisation.

I hope that the new Government will do a lot to bring common sense back into all these areas. But there are some powerful 'jobsworth' mindsets to change (or preferably remove outright) first

Jun 20, 2010 at 2:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

Shub Niggurath

You mean, some people want to define and dictate each and every tiny aspect of your lives, and you give it a cute name like 'nanny'.

Well, I agree "Naggy" would be a better choice, but it isn't funny no matter. Presently, I am living in California, where they have all sorts of silly laws. One is the so-called "safety corridor" where you have to drive with your headlights on 24/7 on designated roads or face a $160 fine and one point on your record. That translates in a 50% increase in your car insurance. This is to prevent people from smashing head on into each other even though there is a double white line (means "do not cross!") down the center of road. The fine for crossing over the double white line is also $160, as is speeding on the road. Thus driving with your lights off is obviously as dangerous and reckless as speeding and illegal passing.

The cop who stopped me (wonder why I know the cost of the ticket?) had issued over 200 tickets that month. I challenged him in court (one of six) and won on a technicality.

These rules and their enforcement are major sources of income. Let's see -- 200 times $160 is $32,000 per cop per month. Not bad.

Bishop I hope you remembered to button your high-vis jacket (or was it Velcro tabs?) all the way up. Wouldn't want some young colleen seeing yer manly chest and driving into a parked car while staring at it. :)

Jun 20, 2010 at 3:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra

Out of curiosity, had all the 'elf n' safety twaddle simply been ignored, what would have happened? A swoop by 'elf n ' safety police; everyone hauled off to gaol?

Risk assessment: "As with all things in life, there be risk.".

Jun 20, 2010 at 3:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn

Latimer - for the same reason, 'first aid' kits no longer contain painkillers or antiseptic, in fact nothing medicinal at all, lest you suffer an adverse reaction.

The thought that lack of treatment is far more likely to exacerbate your injury seems to have escaped the H&S police - what we need is for one of them to be sued for withholding the necessary medication.

Jun 20, 2010 at 3:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

sam the skeptic

I wasn't suggesting that washer fluid isn't something you would use .. after all it does a much better job than water alone.
However the idea that you can identify less than 50 deaths or approx 800 cases and attribute that PURELY to the screenwash seems unlikely to me particulalrly when "mays, "coulds" and "possibles" were used in the report. I am sure that wash does kill the bacterium, but most people use wash thus it's unlikely to make much of an effect out of 800 cases reported .... thus what was the point in
1. researching it
2. subsequently reporting it

Therefore I suggest that it is part of the health and safety scaremongering... and it seems that many of the quotes used are not actual law but someone interpreting and actioning inappropriately.

Putting wash fluid in your vehicle bottle is simply good for cleaning bugs not because it might prevent legionnaires disease and this merely an example of someone (not necessarily Health and Safety Executive but it could be) trying to ensure we remain fearful.

I have 4 children and the 2 eldest go to senior school and we get a telephone call if they cough a little too loudly requesting us to possibly collect them from school. In my day, my parents didn't have a telephone number so I simply got on with my school work

Jun 20, 2010 at 4:49 PM | Unregistered Commenterstephen lewis

My village fete was much more fun, just got back....

Walked over to the village hall/green cars parked everywhere.
At the end the MP Teresa May calling out the raffle prizes.

And the joy of watching the Home Secretary's personal security office get squirted in the groin with water, from the children's entertainer's nelly the elephant puppet..

I thought about giving her me spare copy (accidentally got 2 from amazon) of 'The Hockey Stick Illusion', but the security guy looked a bit grumpy....

Happy days

Jun 20, 2010 at 5:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

What little I know about Legionella is that it is a very common organism but no-one knows what triggers off the occasional episodes when it goes virulent and can kill a lot of people.

Could be a research project for a REAL scientist. (Hint - mention "Global Warming" in the grant application).

If you go to somewhere like Turkey or India, their approach to safety is radically different. Three meter unprotected drops at the back edge of pavements, tripping hazards everywhere and all the rest. I can't imagine the blind living long there.

But in the UK it has been allowed to get out of hand and now seems much more concerned with arse covering for management than in actually reducing accidents.

Jun 20, 2010 at 5:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartin Brumby

The problem is, the dangers of the remedial action never seem to be considered.

I knew a lady who, during the BSE scare, would only give her children Argentinian and Brazilian tinned beef. Her father in discussion offered the view that if there were only the smallest chance that British beef would give his grandchildren JK disease, she was doing the right thing.

I asked, what did she know of hygiene, work practices, quality control, in those Argentinian and Brazilian packing plants?

Now, maybe there was a risk. Maybe we should all have stopped eating British beef. Reasonable argument. However, whether or not eating third world tinned beef improves the safety of ones diet, that is a quite different question.

But the assumption is that any action taken to remediate a risk must lower total risk, and improve total payoff. You cannot assume that, before having done the work.

I personally attribute failure to realize this, and failure to plan accordingly, to the large scale use of SSRIs, which I believe have a catastrophic effect on people's ability to follow connected chains of reasoning. I also believe that the presence in a group of one or two people on SSRIs degrades the effectiveness of the group dramatically. This accounts for most of the insanity we can all see in recent decision making. It is this that accounts for the propensity of people in decision making roles in our countries to advocate doing things which will not remedy the wholly imaginary problems they are supposed to fix.

We can all see it around us every day. Except, that is, those of us on SSRIs, or working in groups with key people on them.

Jun 20, 2010 at 8:38 PM | Unregistered Commentermichel

Hey, I just thought of something. Should we, going by the precautionary principle, maybe ban all SSRIs at once? If there is only the smallest chance that my theory is correct, after all, surely we should? Bad group decision making, that is awful, that has led to wars. Quick, ban the stuff!

Jun 20, 2010 at 8:41 PM | Unregistered Commentermichel

Another anecdote for you.

I was chatting with a local resident at a village fair. He runs a business importing high tech automotive servicing equipment. Business is tough at the moment, but is likely to improve over the coming year. Why?

Because a new EU regulation requires that from 2012 all cars must be fitted with automatic tyre pressure sensors and apparently these take some expensive equipment to test and service.

Health and saftey requires it - we can't be personally repsonsible for checking our tyres can we. Oh, and climate change of course - wasting all the patrol.

Jun 21, 2010 at 9:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterGeckko

At the minute I have one child in a state school and one in a private school (it's a long story).

At the private school they have so much fun - at the school fete someone had brought out an ancient slide/go cart which they were using to hurl themselves across the field. They use bunsen burners and jigsaws in lessons (a primary school).

At the state school none of this happens. The school has provided sun hats which they must wear at all times outside - they had to wear these bloody hats while they were doing their races at sports day. They spent all their time trying to make sure these stupid hats stayed on - not on trying to run fast.

Jun 21, 2010 at 10:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterCaroline

The Englishman wrote, "The question as ever is who is this Health and Safety? It isn't the law..."

I think this misses the point, busy teachers (and other professionals) are swamped with rules and guidelines - more than they can ever read or absorb - so the net result is that every school implements a different subset of these rules - resulting in random idiocy.

Jun 21, 2010 at 10:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Bailey

"from 2012 all cars must be fitted with automatic tyre pressure sensors"

The eurocrats seem to have forgotten (if they ever knew) about the Mk.II Renault Laguna, whose tyre pressure sensors failed all the time. The workaround was to replace the valves with ordinary rubber ones and remove the relevant fuse. The current Mk.III version requires the usual observation on the part of the owner, I believe, which must be a safer option than depending on an unreliable warning light!

(Lazier types can purchase a set of indicator caps for any vehicle for £12.99 - http://tinyurl.com/325njs4 )

Jun 21, 2010 at 11:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

Linesman in one Australian State had a booklet stating "No ladder shall be climbed until it is firmly fixed at both top and bottom".

Re:June 20, 2010 | Green Sand

For those with more expansive education, sung to the tune of "Dixie"

"I wish I was in the land of cotton
Flickin' peas up a nanny goat's bottom
With a straw, with a straw ..."

Jun 21, 2010 at 12:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterGeoff Sherrington

Aaah the nanny state don't you love it - just makes you want to go bush! (an expression in Australia meaning leaving the city and the rules and regs for an extended period and going camping or whatever - just getting away - nothing to do with George Bush!)

Jun 21, 2010 at 1:37 PM | Unregistered Commentertwawki

"from 2012 all cars must be fitted with automatic tyre pressure sensors"

Strange requirement unless they are wired into the ignition and refuse to permit the engine to start unless there is sufficient pressure. You still have to walk around the car and look at the indicators.

As for myself -- and I am sure a large number of you -- I use the standard Mark I eyeball. Works just great. I walk around the car looking at the tires (or tyres in ROI) and it warns "Looks a bit soft, mate!" It is a brilliant bit of engineering. Connects directly to me brain, it does.

On second thought, maybe I shouldn't post this -- some idiot in Brussels might see my suggestion that they interconnect the pressure sensor to the ignition and make it law.

I thought about that for several minutes and then realized that if they were (subjunctive mood) reading this blog, they wouldn't be pushing so hard on the Carbon Tax.

So I pressed the "Create Post" button.

Jun 21, 2010 at 2:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra

Thankfully I already have a leather encapsulated tyre pressure sensor in fact I have two both working what seems to be automatically.

Jun 21, 2010 at 2:44 PM | Unregistered Commentermartyn

Martin..you made my day. :-)

Jun 21, 2010 at 2:47 PM | Unregistered Commenterconiston

Wait, these are real rules,or is this a satire post?

Jun 21, 2010 at 11:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterMikeN

Oh dear. In Ogbourne St.George, Wiltshire, we must be in a time-warp. We've just had our village fete, attended by the Vicar, the Village PC, school governors, parish councillors, Lord of the Manor, and sundry minor nobility.

The childrens' races were a riotous success. Egg & spoon race, three-legged race, wheelbarrow race, Hopping race and Bean-Bag-On-Head Race. Plus the Wellie Wanging, Pony Rides and Flip-Flop_Flinging. The only thing that deafened the yelling children was their parents screaming at them to GO FASTER!!!

Reports from a few children about minor cuts and abrasions were generally dealt with by parents who told them that falling over was a silly thing to do, here's a cuddle, nothing's broken, now go and try again.

Perhaps it's the proximity to Stonehenge (Dr Who reference). Or it might be the ancestral links to The Abbey Bec du Hellion in Normandy (French reference). Either way nobody appeared to give a toss for Elfen Safty.

A great time was had by all, and the Church Funds are £2,000 the better.

Jun 21, 2010 at 11:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterKeith MacDonald

I've always been curious about this:

Does the precautionary principle apply to the precautionary principle?

You know, like , what if we apply the precautionary principle and it triggers the very thing we are trying to be precautiously avoid?

Or in so many other ways.

I've also wondered about this:
Which one wins: Precautionary principle or Murphy's law?

Jun 22, 2010 at 1:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterShub Niggurath

MikeN

Wait, these are real rules,or is this a satire post?

We all wish it were, Mike. Oh, how we wish it were. But that is just a subjunctive wish.

Jun 22, 2010 at 4:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra

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