Sunday, 2 December 2012
I believe in the Elves of Safety
I have been away a bit recently. Work training. Health and Safety. Nebosh. Sounds awful and boring I know. But it really wasn't; it was surprisingly interesting. Never mind the general prescriptive blokishness of the ex-army presenter (nice bloke actually), he did made the dry subject rather wet and sticky. (Let's see whether I'll pass the exam.)
What struck me wasn't so much the hierarchy of controls (I know we get them especially wrong in transport due to lack of national and local leadership), or the non-involvement of the HSE with transport schemes (which could be really beneficial if they were), or the death rate in construction being low (comparatively to transport 250 vs 2,000 fatalities). No. What struck me was this little thing.
One of the slides read...
Workplace transport controls "Segregate pedestrians and vehicles wherever [sic.] possible - physical barriers better than painted walkways."
I - quite naturally I am sure you agree - immediately made that into...
On major/strategic roads to "Segregate cyclists and vehicles where-ever possible - physical barriers better than painted cycle lanes."
Just substitute pedestrians with cyclists and walkways with cycle lanes and Health and Safety is yet again correct in its approach. I start to believe in the Elves of Safety! Let the HSE regulate the transport sector for a little while, and they would turn round DfT's destructive approach to road safety in no time!
As a cyclist, I am sick to the bone of "working next to heavy moving machinery". It's lethally dangerous, usually also badly and unreliably operated, unsupervised, not enforced or disciplined.
And they lived happily ever after.
Posted by katsdekker