What has ‘Elf and Safety’ Ever Done for Us?

What has ‘Elf and Safety’ Ever Done for Us?


  • Date: Monday 2nd December 2013

“‘Elf and Safety’ gets horrendous press in the UK”, says Dr. Michael Cash, Operations Director at SSG. “The imagery conjures up endless bureaucratic discussions of whether to allow children to play conkers in school, or whether to cut down a tree to ensure no one can fall out of it! Surely this is not what risk management is about? Let’ think; the annual rate of deaths on the road has fallen by 40% over the last 50 years even though car ownership has risen by 3% - I’ll assume that’s down to drink/drive laws, seatbelts, speed cameras and other risk based rules that people have criticised over the years; fire safety in buildings, process and chemical plant safety and air craft design have (and will) equally save lives. Oh, and lets not forget that prior to 1970 in excess of 1000 people were killed annually at work - last year there were 148; this decrease is largely attributable to the need for legal compliance and risk reduction. Unfortunately, rather than focussing on these significant advances we single out the occasional bad decision or misinterpretation of a sensible law or guideline, blow a story out of proportion to apocryphal levels, more than often leaving half of the true story out. After all, health and safety law does require trapeze artists to wear hard hats doesn’t it?!”

If we step back and ask, ‘What has ‘elf and safety done for us?’ – I think the answer will be – ‘quite a lot actually’.


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