Jeremy Clarkson – the new Health and Safety evangelist?Category: Health & Safety | Bryan Richards | Published on: Mar 19, 2012 | Updated: Dec 12, 2016 Read more: Health & Safety
Although the recent IOSH conference highlighted that the reputation of UK health and safety continues its challenge under the media spotlight, it appears that Jeremy Clarkson may have become a health and safety evangelist.
The IOSH president, Subash Ludhra, opened the conference by focusing on the theme of the conference `changing perceptions’. He recognised that despite the well balanced Löftstedt report and positive comments from IOSH, negative health and safety vibes continued to emanate from government officials and the media. Yet, earlier this year Jeremy Clarkson, writing on the Top Gear Website, highlighted the changing priorities we all have when it comes to the health and safety of our own family.
Mr Clarkson was considering the fact that his daughter had recently turned 17 and was eligible to drive. What characteristics should the car feature?
“Style? Speed? Value? Handling? All the things that usually matter suddenly don’t any more. All I was interested in was safety. I wanted a car with 2,000 airbags. I wanted a bouncy castle with wipers.”
Clarkson’s message is an important one for everybody involved in health and safety. You assess the risks and requirements to you, your business and the people you care about before coming up with a sensible, pragmatic solution that still complies with health and safety legislation. And this, thankfully, is the approach the vast majority of businesses take. Business owners want to create a safe working environment for their staff without stifling the drive and creativity that gives that company its competitive edge. They want their staff to apply their common sense without taking unnecessary risk.
Unfortunately, relying on common sense will not prevent accidents. The great strides made by thousands of businesses over many years in creating a safer working environment is undermined by a few cases where there was no understanding of risk with sometimes tragic results. It is these tragic incidents, where health and safety law has been applied in the absence of a sensible risk assessment, that are sensationalised by the media. It is these tiny number of such incidents that give health and safety a bad name.
With education and experience such incidents will hopefully disappear and with it the negative image of the health and safety industry. The support of people such as Mr Clarkson can only help accelerate that process.
In terms of your own business of course, you don’t need to wait while the debate continues. If you’re looking for a sensible, pragmatic and balanced approach to health and safety today, or want to ensure that you are in compliance with Health and Safety legislation please call me on 07803 612498 or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
MSc CMIOSH MCIEH
Chartered Safety and Health Practitioner and Chartered Environmental Health Practitioner