In that wonderful way that health and safety anoraks have, yet again we are being banned from that everyday stuff that many of us call 'life'.
In one small UK village, the local market hall clock winders have been doing their job for over 150 years and have now been told it's dangerous and they must stop. Without the appropriate health and safety training or aids, an accident could happen and somebody could be held liable. So, what is the problem? Are the clock winders concerned for their safety? Is winding the clock beyond the realms of the clock winders job description?
Winding this clock has been the job of the family for five generations. It involves climbing through a narrow hatch and onto the roof of the building and, the current winder admits, is a little precarious. However, in all the years this has been going on, not one accident has occurred. The family see that the potential for danger is there but what is life without a little danger? Why take away the traditions of a family, indeed of a whole town, simply because the health and safety training is not in place?
This isn't a job that you do for money - the current winder earns 8 pounds a week - this is a job that is done for the love of it, to keep tradition alive. The local council now want the clock mechanised to allow for winding at the push of a button. I hardly think that will bring the same satisfaction.
Another gem from the health and safety department, is that of making Santa wear a seatbelt on a sleigh that manages five miles an hour when it does it's annual trips around the local town. For these trips, refer to promotional activity and not the actual delivery of presents as this requires lightening speeds, not five miles an hour. Without the seatbelt, a further 200 pounds will be added to the insurance of an enigma that manages to travel the world in a single night, delivering his goods, with a completely clean insurance record and no health and safety training.
Still, if he were to have an accident, he could always recover in hospital. That said, he wouldn't be allowed any get well cards as these have now been banned under the guise of health and safety regulations. All because hospitals cannot guarantee that the cars will not carry germs. Flowers have already been banned on many wards due to the continuous spread of infections such as MRSA. Surely, they would be better off spending money on health and safety training that incorporated the necessity of not wearing nursing uniforms between home and hospital, that involved the uniforms being cleaned and sterilised by an outside source and of the wards being cleaned more efficiently.
They surely seem to be overlooking the obvious. Flowers and cards have always been allowed in hospitals. They go a long way to cheering up the patient and we all know that mind over matter, as well as improved mood, is a huge issue when it comes to healing. Many years ago, get well cards were permitted into hospitals and people did not die of superbug infections. Only when hospital cleanliness when to outside contractors and was reduced due to lack of funding, did we start experiencing these ills. It doesn't take a brain surgeon to work out that it's not the cards that are the problem.
At least if the Government have their way, there will be less and less people in hospital. Just how do they hope to achieve this? Better education, better preventative medicine? Not quite. They have reduced the holes in salt shakers in chip shops from seventeen to five to try and discourage people from having so much salt on their food. Too much salt contributes towards many health issues and this is the move that the Government wish to take, due to our inability to either decide for ourselves how much is too much or even to add more from less holes!