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Editors Comment: Is there life after the bureaucrats?

Thank goodness, at least there is someone who tells it like it is. I have just read Bob Towse’s health and safety article in the news section.
Editors Comment: Is there life after the bureaucrats?
Even the HSE seems to realise that contractors are drowning in a sea of paperwork as they try to prove their safety competence. In fact, the HSE admits much of the paperwork is unnecessary and has the opposite effect to what is intended. It is actually putting worker’s lives in danger.

I am all for safety. One person in construction who is killed or injured is one person too many, as far as I am concerned.

But has health and safety gone over the top? I have visited a number of factories on the European mainland (how politically correct is that?) recently and I was surprised to see no hi-vis jackets, nor hard hats nor protected boots. But, I also suspect (I have no figures to back this up) their injury record is similar to ours.

I was reading in the Daily Mail a couple of weekends back about the blog that a policeman was writing about his experiences. He said much the same thing. He was so busy writing reports and being treated like a social worker that he didn’t have time to do his main job of arresting criminals.

Oh! we all suffer from too much bureaucracy.

Take the NHS! Practically every day there is news of another NHS

Trust going into the red. Government’s answer to this is to set a few more targets and draft in some costly consultants (business, not doctors), sack a couple of junior doctors and 50 or 60 nurses, close a couple of wards. Sorted!

I have a friend who works for a trust which is not in the red and her trust still had to pay for business consultants who came in to tell them what they were doing wrong!

I have given up wanting a perfect world, I know that my politicians are just not up to the job.

What I do know is that the health and safety police are everywhere, even stopping children playing conkers. (Did anyone else see that picture in the newspapers of local council workers on a lift collecting conkers to bring down to children in case they hurt themselves throwing sticks to knock them out of the trees.)

What is the answer?

If you employ hundreds of bureaucrats, then they have to justify their jobs.

Me, I suggest we sack most of them and force them to retrain as plumbers, or engineers or electricians. People who do a proper job! Marcus Aniol, managing director of JS Wright, who featured as the contractor profile in the October issue, says he expects his business will not be able to grow as he wants because he is unable to recruit enough of the right people.

I suspect there are no problems recruiting bureaucrats. There are plenty of people who are willing to watch others work and be paid for giving them advice on how to do their jobs!

Paul Braithwaite, Editor
1 November 2006

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