Good old elf and safety, no matter how many do this and don’t do that rules they promulgate, accidents inevitably happen. Five fairly recent ones immediately spring to mind. A ten year old girl had emergency surgery after having been impaled on railings. Evidently she fell from a tree (definitely no more tree climbing please) and one of the railings pierced her stomach and shoulder. How it got from her stomach to her shoulder or her shoulder to her stomach I have no idea but there you are, that is where she was injured. It took the rescuers two hours to set her free and she was taken to hospital with part of the railing still in her body and evidently a plucky little girl. A twelve year old boy died after being hit by a falling goal post whilst playing football with local lads.(Stay clear of goal posts please). Police investigating the incident took away the goalposts and a spokesman for the Health and Safety Executive said, ‘The HSE is aware of this incident and is following up with the police and local authority officials.’ Do the words horse and stable doors ring a bell? Thirdly, twenty people, mostly children, where injured when a barbecue at their school blew up. (No more barbecues. It’s cold sandwiches from now on). Fourthly a woman was killed by a herd of cows while walking her dog in a field. I’m sure it wasn’t the lady herself who spooked the cows but they are not particularly partial to strange dogs, (no more walking dogs in fields of cows please) and a young lad in Wales was savaged by a Rhodesian Ridgeback that leapt over the fence and went for him. The dog of course was put down but the boy needed surgery to his arm and face but this accident simply couldn’t have been foreseen in a hundred years.
Poor old elf and safety, in small ways they’ve come up with some pretty screwy ideas to make people’s lives that much more dismal like banning hanging baskets that livened up village streets and stopping kids from playing conkers, a game that’s been played for generations. School sack races are banned because a kid could fall and hurt himself. Another daft decision was to stop dodgem cars bumping into each other. Butlin’s complied with this one despite patrons complaining that the rides had become boring. Dodgem means dodgem, not bumpem. The British Legion stopped giving pins with poppies in case people pricked themselves. A school in Merseyside banned leather footballs and only allows those made of sponge! No doubt it was elf and safety that issued the instructions. Some councils stopped Royal Wedding street parties and told organisers of carnivals no fancy dress and costumes were definitely out. Obviously the Notting Hill Carnival decided to ignore this one. East Riding Council threatened to fine kite flyers £500 on various beaches and Colchester Council told an 85 year old that workmen couldn’t remove her television set for recycling in case they hurt themselves.
There isn’t any doubt that in the work place elf and safely is important but, it would seem, too many jobsworthy little bureaucrats are taking it on themselves to issue these edicts that schools and town councils are only too happy to comply with in this age of litigation and compensation when no one is willing to take responsibility for their own actions.