Author Options:

Poll Question: Do you think health and safety has gone crazy? Answered

I know that on Instructables we do some fairly dangerous stuff with all the potato guns and weaponry. This 30 years ago was perfectly acceptable, but in the modern society health and safety makes you wear goggles and be safe. The fact is you can do practically nothing in an open environment without being told to be safer. I brought up this topic when i heard that one school had banned all pencil cases as well... It might contain sharp objects-like pencils! So what do you think, is all the politics making health and safety a bit over the top or is it just there to protect us?



Reply 10 years ago

I probably should go to bed... Oh well. Cook what might I ask? :P I'd probably burn down the house.

What did he do on friday night? O_o

:O Someone's actually on here!

An awful lot... and then saturday night... it was sunday morning here when you were talking to me...

Was it fun? :P I just woke up not too long ago... I would have been able to sleep later but nooooooooo my dad just had to wake me up.....

I had a great time over the weekend, but I missed my friends 18th, not amused...

hey i wasn't the only one I'll tell ya that... Still tired and lazy?

Oh yeah. He woke me up around 1 even though I was still tired friday and saturday night.

Well then I'll be smart and not stsy up all night now will I? I have to babysit tomorrow so I'm not going to stay up tonight....

Oh if I were closer, I could supply the "child(ren)" with non-toxic yet indelible markers, and instruct them to "put some make up on you" LOL Sleep on the joy, will you? LOL

When i went to the US the health and safety was crazy, on a boat trip to Alcatraz it took the entire journey to warn us about the "sometimes moderately slippy hand rails" and when we got there we had to remain on the boat for 15 minutes so they could finish the talk. In the uk its gone pretty bonkers at schools, read Kiteman's comment for more on that :P

Speaking from the right-hand-side of the pond, yes.

> The acids we now use in lessons are, for H&S reasons, weaker than vinegar.

> If I want to put a poster on a wall over a bench fixed to the wall, i am not allowed to stand on the (very solid) bench - I have to go and get a step-ladder and lean over the bench.

> Recent "working at height" EU regulations mean that ladders may only be used as access if you are working more than 6 feet off the ground, rather than as a place to work from. This means that if an electrician wants to change a high light-bulb, he is required to use scaffolding. A local church has had to switch to using standard lamps to light it's main building, because the new law pushed the cost of changing high bulbs from about £200 to nearly £1000 of scaffolding rental to change a £5 bulb.

> Several UK schools banned children from playing conkers, or made them wear goggles (when there is no record of flying conker-splinters ever harming a child in the entire history of conkers).

> We have had to get rid of our mercury thermometers because new regulations require the evacuation of the lab if a thermometer is broken, and the mercury must be collected using specially-designed (and very expensive) mercury spill kits. My old chem teachers used a dropper-pipette to suck up spills.

> It cost us money to throw the thermometers out - we had to declare them as hazardous waste, which requires specialist disposal. We couldn't give them away or sell them to collectors, because that requires a license.

Wow, it's like that here in the States, too, but not quite as bad. It's idiotic, though, that they want to ban smoking in the airport SMOKING LOUNGE because there's "too much secondhand tobacco smoke in the air." If you're in there, you're in there to breathe it firsthand! H&S in action...

Playing tag has been banned in some schools here. You can also be suspended here in Denver if you get beat up, too. You "failed to avoid a fight" by literaly screaming and running away (you have to), so both people get suspended. I'm just glad that the school I attended, although they had insane rules, the teachers would often use good judgement and overlook things. Like one time my friend kicked me in the jaw so hard it popped it out of the socket, but it was during an exhibition fight that we both agreed to. The teacher saw the incident, but he said "I didn't see anything. Are you okay, son? See, no problem." I took all assumption of risk by participating. According to the rules, I should have been given some ice and suspended, my friend should have been expelled, and someone probably would have had to drink the blood of a unicorn.

The teachers also have told the H&S people to "respectfully, sir, shove it" when they were told to take down posters and replace them with a stack of pamphlets (which would have meant MUCH more paper)because they "posed a fire hazard" to have a poster on the wall.

Now you need to wear your student ID on a lanyard at all times in some schools, most of which are small enough that the security guards know everyone anyway, and show your student ID in order to enter a classroom that you need to go to, where the teacher knows you, and be officially counted as present for that class.

One time my friend put some dilute HCl on his hand and got a chemical burn about as bad as a bad sunburn, but not enough to cause peeling. We were warned to wear gloves and not to play with this stuff, that it would cause a burn, but Dumbass McStupid had to try it. The teacher didn't get in trouble because he had warned the kid, but he probably would have been slapped all over the front page of the newspaper nowadays.

But at least the "organic beaurocratic intelligence" of individual schools still means that the principal will still turn a blind eye to an applied chemistry teacher, god forbid, actually APPLYING CHEMISTRY. Granted, it's a charter school, but we got to use actual fire, and scissors without rounded plastic ends. We even got to build a plastic model four-banger engine!

Ha, recent examples: Every year, I show classes what happens when you burn magnesium ribbon. I tell them to look at the walls or ceiling, because if they look directly at the flame they risk damaging their eyes. I tell them that such damage may not heal. I tell them several times, and let them close their eyes if they are nervous. This year, a pupil claimed that my experiment gave him flash-burned retinas. I spoke to his mother, explained my precautions, and she was happy - if he's been warned, and ignores the warnings, then it's his own look-out. On the other hand, another pupil was playing rugby, and during a tackle got a smart one in the Old Niagaras. He took it in good humour (it's part of the game), but his mother kept him off school for two days and had a shout at the Head teacher because her son had been injured and the other boy had not been punished (she expected a suspension!).

Traditional British children's game -

Take the fruit of the horse chestnut (the conker), drill a hole through it and hang it on a shoe lace or piece of string.

Find somebody else who also owns a strung conker.

One of you holds their conker stationary by the end of the string, the other swings at it with his conker.

Take turns until one conker breaks or comes off the string. The other player is the winner, and takes on another opponent.


When I lived is State College Pennsylvania, there was a huge Horse Chestnut tree downtown, we'd gather the nuts to play conkers with. We also used to go here for picnics and to catch crayfish in the streams. Thanks for sparking the memories Kiteman.

Wow, that is not overly far from me, and yet I have never heard of the game before this thread. Mumbly-peg, now that I remember, LOL

Sounds like fun. Thanks for telling me what it was instead of telling me to look it up on wikipedia, like other people might have. :)

While I agree that too much 'nannying' by the state is wrong-thinking, time to play devil's advocate: We had a science classroom alcohol fire about two years ago in a local private school. The teacher and several students were burned, some severely. The school uniforms were synthetic, flammable and melted on skin. An awful, awful thing. I can understand the drive to make schools safer, both from the safely perspective and the liability POV. (Personally I believe nothing is (or should be) 100% safe. But laws are not always pushed by informed advocates, or for informed reasons. Laws (and rules) are passed by well-meaning individuals, backed by lawyers who's responsibility is preventing lawsuits by a litigious public.)

On a smaller scale, we had a local case of a child hideously burned in a lab accident. The media's knee-jerk reaction was to decry the teacher for running dangerous experiments in lessons and demand their immediate sacking. Parents demanded huge damages from both the school and the teacher. The whole thing went through a massive enquiry, during which time the teacher was suspended. The findings? It was the child's own fault - the teacher had warned him several times to remove a baggy sweatshirt because it would be dangerous to do the experiment. The child refused, then leaned over a lit bunsen to grab his stuff.

This incident was handled in a fairly low-key way by everyone. There was some initial speculation the teacher might have used too much methanol in the 'flame test.' But I don't think any 'sacking' occurred (not exactly, anyway.) Also, the instructor didn't use a fume hood, I believe. Everyone involved survived, but there were life-changing injuries for some. All-in-all, it was treated simply as a tragedy. Had this happened at a public school, however....

"EU" is the European Union, sort of a European Uberstate - based in Brussels, they make all sorts of rules and regulations that countries that are part of Europe have agreed to abide by. Some of the rules are stupid - such as trying to ban the UK calling chocolate "chocolate" because it didn't have the same proportion of cocoa solids and milk as Swiss chocolate - many of them are vaguely pointless, and all of them are hideously expensive and enforced by a bureaucracy that can't even balance its own books every year (the auditors have found them to be thousands of millions of Euros out every year). Actually, I can't think of a single rule or law from the EU that has benefitted my life in any way (stands back and waits to be corrected).

correction (maybe): the eu banned ipods capable of producing noise at a decibel rate capable of causing hearing loss.

Not that I'm aware of. Certainly when I'm on the Underground there are still rows of people with ears that go tsss tssss tsss tttchk tsss at a volume that must be causing damage.

(Although, I'm sure that if somebody had to listen to an iPod as part of their work, H&S; would soon have something to say about it.)

Everybody who lives in a country with a government that has decided they want to be a State of the Union but are too far from America, so they decided to hand over part of their autonomy to power-hungry idiots.

(I like Europe the continent, and the individual countries within it, but the EU seems wholly pointless, and has had no tangible benefits to the UK - we used to have a space programme, now we pay for ESA's)

...So it's illegal for you to do work from a ladder more than 6 feet off the ground...even at home?

Not at home - the rules only apply to people in paid employment or working for some other organisation (eg charity workers). It has really messed up window cleaners - they have had to spend a fortune on special kit to wash upstairs windows with extendible poles and pumps, using far more water than the old ladder-and-bucket method (I have heard one window cleaner complain that they have had to buy a tanker-trailer to haul over a thousand litres of water on their round).

"EU" is the European Union, sort of a European Uberstate - based in Brussels, they make all sorts of rules and regulations that countries that are part of Europe have agreed to abide by.


of course. what if a wink flew backwards into you eye? no one mentioned it, but some schools banned plastic pencil sharpeners because people were breaking them and using the blades as weapons.

i saw a kid at school get his blinded by a plastic fork. he was putting it on the table and hitting it to see how far back he could flip it. and it flipped up and hit him in the eye, blinding him.

Oy, I have to wonder....because so many things can be used as a weapon....even the aerial of a car can be broken off and used effectively as such...next we will just have to ban the students I guess *sigh*

Next thing you know they will ban chairs!

sure. not only can aluminum folding chairs make great weapons, can you imagine the liability if a chair broke while someone was sitting on it and that person got hurt???