I'm sure most of you at some stage have seen the e-mail obituary of our old friend, 'Common Sense' who died recently. I don't claim anything for the articulately written piece which bemoans the loss of Common Sense but never a truer word was said in jest.
I was reminded today about the obituary by of two pieces of news broadcast today, the first about the police officer in the UK who refused to sit on a bicycle that had been donated to his force by a charity for a picture call with the local media on the grounds that health and safety forbade it until he has passed a cycling proficiency test. Although the force claimed he was following guidelines, he was hardly likely to have been run over by a 38 ton truck on the forecourt of Halfords whilst sat on a bike having his picture taken was he? Risk averse? Of course. Common Sense - none applied.
The second story is about a visit of school children to a small farm who have pigs and the school has apparently demanded that the pigs be removed as a precaution to catching Swine flu before the children arrive - EVEN THOUGH YOU CAN'T CATCH SWINE FLU FROM PIGS! Amazing.
A lot is said belittling health and safety and unfairly in my view most of the time. It is a superb piece of legislation that has undoubtedly saved lives and has all but got rid of the most dangerous of practises in the work place that could cause serious injury and death. But to use health and safety as an excuse not to do something simple, straight forward where the chance of injury is so low, people don't even consider it at all dangerous and it's something that we have done for years is absolutely nonsense. Health and safety does NOT restrict or forbid risky practises. It seems to me that it says you should do a risk assessment, either in your head or on paper and take all reasonable precautions to avoid personal injuries, otherwise we would never step outside our door in a morning to go to work.
I reprint the obituary for the benefit of those who once loved and used the services of this great institution all of their lives:
'Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:
'Knowing when to come in out of the rain; why the early bird gets the worm; Life isn't always fair; and maybe it was my fault.
'Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).
'His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.
'Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children.
'Common Sense declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an Aspirin to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.
'Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims. Common Sense took a beating when you couldn't defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.
'Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.
'Common Sense was preceded in death by his parents Truth and Trust, his wife Discretion, his daughter Responsibility and his son, Reason.
'He is survived by his 4 stepbrothers;
'I Know My Rights
'I Want It Now
'Someone Else Is To Blame
'I'm A Victim
'Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone. If you still remember him, pass this on. If not, join the majority and do nothing.'