Barking Mad

July 31, 2009 12:19 PM

Juxtapose these two points.  


1. Barking and Dagenham was crowned London’s most unhealthy borough last year.
2. Health and safety officials at Barking and Dagenham council have forbidden swimmers at the local pool from swimming lengths – instead forcing swimmers to swim widths instead.


Who in their right mind, without any lodged complaint or recent accident warranting it, sits at their desk and comes up with the idea of using the health and safety act to regulate people’s swimming habits.   


If anything, the ‘elf n safety’ Stakhanovites in the council should encourage more people to swim and take up exercise in the borough to fight the health crisis marked out in point 1 above.


But there’s also a philosophical point – we do not need to be regulated to this extent.  Lifeguards are a precaution, as best as possible, against people having difficulty in the pool.  They should, first, do their job and not expect the health and safety apparat to do it for them.  Life, however, involves all sorts of risks no manager or planner can avoid.  Crossing the road, driving a car, climbing a ladder, all have risks that you can minimise but never entirely eliminate.  No number of health and safety officials will ever be able to eliminate the risks involved in everyday life.

Juxtapose these two points.  


1. Barking and Dagenham was crowned London’s most unhealthy borough last year.
2. Health and safety officials at Barking and Dagenham council have forbidden swimmers at the local pool from swimming lengths – instead forcing swimmers to swim widths instead.


Who in their right mind, without any lodged complaint or recent accident warranting it, sits at their desk and comes up with the idea of using the health and safety act to regulate people’s swimming habits.   


If anything, the ‘elf n safety’ Stakhanovites in the council should encourage more people to swim and take up exercise in the borough to fight the health crisis marked out in point 1 above.


But there’s also a philosophical point – we do not need to be regulated to this extent.  Lifeguards are a precaution, as best as possible, against people having difficulty in the pool.  They should, first, do their job and not expect the health and safety apparat to do it for them.  Life, however, involves all sorts of risks no manager or planner can avoid.  Crossing the road, driving a car, climbing a ladder, all have risks that you can minimise but never entirely eliminate.  No number of health and safety officials will ever be able to eliminate the risks involved in everyday life.

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