Saturday, 16 October 2010

New Health & Safety Guidelines A Victory For Common Sense.

Regular readers will know that I am no fan of the Tories, Liberal Democrats or the Coalition.

However, like many people, I am painfully aware that the last Labour Government did make many mistakes during their thirteen years in power and there are many things that they failed to do as well.

I do believe that Labour did become health and safety-obssessed.  In many areas of our everyday lives, rules were enforced at the expense of common sense.The regulations that are necessary in  'hazardous' jobs have been over-zealously applied to all other professions too and this is clearly wrong.

This was particularly the case in education.  I recall hearing a case where a teacher was not able to put a plaster on a five-year old's knee without calling another member of staff into the room to act as a witness.

The emergence of the compensation culture in the UK has had a highly detrimental effect on children's development.

We have seen a big drop in school trips and other extra-curricular activities, as teachers are too frightened to take children anywhere in case there are accidents and for fear that they will be liable to pay compensation.

And adults are now frequently unwilling to take responsibility for children in other pursuits and even in simply transporting children to and from their activities.

Lord Young's review of the current health and safety legislation is therefore, a welcome step.

Of course today we live in a world where awareness of child abuse has made any adult a potential offender.

But a situation where a teacher is not allowed to physically restrain an unruly child in the classroom for fear of being labelled a paedophile is clearly unacceptable.

Therefore I also applaud the Coalition's pledge to abolish the 'no touching' rule in schools. 

Labour did get it wrong on this issue and I hope that the new guidlines will allow common sense to prevail.

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