Wednesday, 4 June 2014

And the worst bill of the Queen Speech 2014 goes to...


Oh yeah, it seems that the Tories are taking to the bullshit motivational speaker style personification of things, in this case a bill that appears on the basis of it's description to aim to diminish and water down the rights of workers and individuals and to let those with responsibilities off with doing their job properly. Let's take a look at Grayling's new mistress, SARAH, shall we?

Take the responsible employer who puts in place proper training for staff, who has sensible safety procedures, and tries to do the right thing. And then someone injures themselves doing something stupid or something that no reasonable person would ever have expected to be a risk. Common sense says that the law should not simply penalise the employer for what has gone wrong.

If an employer has correctly followed Health and Safety procedures, and has created risk assessments (and followed them) for any task that someone wouldn't normally be expected to face as part of their daily lives outside of work, then the law does not "simply penalise" the employer for their employee's stupid behaviour.

Or the member of our emergency services who feels that they can’t come to the rescue of someone in difficulty because of the fear that they will end up in trouble for breaching health and safety rules.

No member of the emergency services feels that they can't rescue someone because of health and safety. Find me one fireman, policeman or paramedic who out "in the field" would refuse to do their job to save someone's life over some idiotic notion that they would be criminally charged with contravening health and safety law and I'll show you a liar.

Those who are concerned about health and safety law are the higher ups, the managers in their offices, the ones that should be keeping abreast of the potential risks their ground forces may come up against and planning ahead to mitigate them. Those who want health and safety law watered down for emergency services are those who don't want to be held accountable if they fail to take the proper responsibility for the lives of their staff and the public that they interact with.

Or the person who holds back from sweeping the snow off the pavement outside their house because they are afraid that someone will then slip on the ice and sue them.

The government here is deciding it will use the fear of something that doesn't exist (the ability to be sued for clearing snow) to in some non-descript way water down safety legislation? Hopefully all this means is they're going to make it clear in law something that no-one seems to question as being not against the law. Pointless to the extreme.

But those who are trying to do the right thing should believe that the law will be on their side.

Why? Why does being an affable fool get you off the hook when you're negligent? I'm sorry, but if someone has done something wrong they need to face the consequences of that. Being good natured in your intentions may be something that can be taken to account when it comes to punishment, but strangely enough the kid who threw a fire extinguisher off the roof of a building and did *zero* harm to anyone got treated as if it had. Intentions or not never came into that case of a young protester, but we're going to protect managers who turn around after the fact and say "Hey, I didn't realise it'd end up like this!"

I want the Good Samaritan who comes to someone’s aid, the small business employer who is doing their best, the person trying to do something positive for their community, all to feel that the country and the system is on their side. Time and again we see stories of a jobsworth culture or a legalistic culture that seems to stop common sense in its tracks.

Yeah, and also stops deaths and injuries in their tracks too, you jerk. But who cares about the wholesale improvement of working conditions and public safety while you're in an election year trying to score the votes of small business owners?