Health and safety… gone mad?

Matthew Chatfield

We’ve heard it all before… health and safety gone mad! Council bureaucrats stifle fun for little Johnny. And all that. It’s a tedious debate for all concerned. Usually the argument against health and safety is that common sense should prevail. And of course it should. Really. But that means common sense both on the part of the provider, and, crucially, the user. Lest we forget, here are some good reasons why rangers and their ilk can sometimes be a bit cautious about the risks that people will willingly take in public places.

El Caminito del Rey is a walkway dating from 1901, now fallen into disrepair, pinned along the steep walls of a narrow gorge in El Chorro, near Álora in Málaga, Spain. Several people have lost their lives on the walkway in recent years; after four people died in two accidents in 1999 and 2000, the local government closed the entrances. However, adventurous tourists still find their way onto the walkway to explore it. (High quality video here: thanks to Ellie Jenkins for link)

What’s the point of all these inspections?

Why do councils spend all that time and money on red tape? All those inspections of play equipment, tedious reporting and ticksheets? Can’t we just let children be children? Well, maybe. Or maybe not. The problem is, as this video shows, that once you provide equipment, you’ve got to maintain it and prove that you did. Or these guys will have you.

Matthew Chatfield

Uncooperative crusty. Unofficial Isle of Wight cultural ambassador. Conservation, countryside and the environment, with extra stuff about spiders.

2 thoughts on “Health and safety… gone mad?

  • 12th May, 2012 at 6:12 pm
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    ah, the benefits of armchair travel – no falling to my death from a precipice along a closed Spanish walkway upon which i should not be, or smashing in of my face on ill-maintained playground equipment. the playground equipment video has lawsuit$$$ written all over it.

    Reply
  • 12th May, 2012 at 6:12 pm
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    Ooh – that Spanish walkway is unbearable to watch!
    Mr WG and I did something not dissimilar on the Robberg Peninsula in South Africa – a thin pathway petered out to just a rusty chain and some footholds on a sheer cliff dropping down into the South Atlantic. It was near the end of a 9km walk, so the choice was either use the chain or walk 8.5km back again. Good job I was wearing my brown trousers.

    Reply

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