The tyrannical and deadly health & safety virus


A guy that I know about but didn’t directly work with is retiring from the mining game in Australia. He posted a bunch of humorous one-liners on social media that summed up his larrikin attitude towards the job. This attitude is prevalent across all layers of the resources industry outside of the stuffy boardrooms.

One line in particular caught my eye.

“If someone doesn’t want to do something they will do it as per the safe work procedure.“

It’s funny because it’s true. The business of health & safety has exploded across many industries in the past 20 odd years. It is the core industrial mindset of the 21st century. So much so that the initial and much scorned health & safety managers are now the ones leading the same companies that simply put up with them when they first appeared like bespectacled dorks who had somehow wandered away from the set of an 80s John Hughes film.

All first world countries have been subjected to the health & safety regime, but Australia and Britain in particular have taken to it with a zeal that is disproportionate to any benefit that it might provide. In other words, there comes a point when the health & safety regulations become so burdensome and obtuse that nobody can realistically get any work done. Hence the humorous one liner quoted above.

I sometimes wondered what would happen if this type of nonsense was inflicted on the general population. Well, we don’t have to wonder any longer as the Chinese pox has unleashed these risk averse practices onto the average person in the street. Or now looked down in their homes.

When health & safety as a profession gets to a certain point it becomes less about helping to solve problems and more about covering the bottoms of people in their respective areas of responsibility. It is a buck passing contest and nobody wants to be the one left holding the stick. Thus we see in various industries such as mining the absurd levels of rules and the black and white approach to solve problems that are not problems at all until the health & safety dimwits get hold of them.

An example would suffice. When I worked for a major resources company it transpired that a worker in an office in a major town managed to burn themselves while using a toaster in the office to prepare some food. As a result of this the company banned the use of toasters across all areas. This over the top reaction to a minor incident was commonplace, and while this example was merely humorous lunacy, there were a great many examples that severely impaired our ability to do our jobs. Which meant that there rules were bypassed or ignored. And which had the cumulative effect of ensuring that we were always one step away from being in the shit. If an incident occurred while we were doing a job in a certain way that we had to do in order to get it done by any reasonable standard, but which meant that we had to contravene some ridiculous safety regs then the result would be that we would be the ones on the chopping block. And not just lose our jobs but also be actively prosecuted by the overzealous and out of control government watchdogs, the sinister official departments that took great delight in proportioning blame to as many unfortunate individuals as possible.

When we see government health officials blindly declaring that shaking hands will now be a thing of the past, what we are witnessing is this ridiculous and self-defeating health & safety lunacy being transplanted to a disbelieving population en masse. And it is a real problem. The average man in the street who has little experience with these matters will rightly roll his eyes at the absurd notion that we won’t be able to shake hands again. But anyone who is unfortunate enough to have experience with health & safety regimes will know that this is a real threat.

When the virus lock down initially blew up I did not consider this threat. But now it is a real problem. It is beyond ridiculous that businesses are still shuttered and people restricted from participating in ordinary life, let alone the calls for mandated downloading of tracking apps. But when you understand how the modern health & safety industry works then this should not be a surprise. Which means that if we continue to let these tyrannical imbeciles dictate how we deal with this health crisis, then the restrictions will never end.

There will always be some virus doing the rounds, but the big bugbear with health & safety is zero harm. That is their end goal. For their precious “lost time injury” stats, one death is unacceptable but the reality is that people die all the time in real life. This doesn’t mean anything to health & safety officials; they don’t operate from a basis of common sense. So now it looks like it is going to mutate into its own deadly bureaucratic virus and make the leap to every aspect of how we live.

And that will be a life not worth living.

Originally published at Pushing Rubber Downhill. You can purchase Adam’s books here.