Risk TakersCategory: Health & Safety | Bryan Richards | Published on: Feb 26, 2014 | Updated: Dec 12, 2016 Read more: Health & Safety
In this country, most of us have a basic understanding of workplace health and safety risks and some will have a deeper knowledge in proportion to the nature of work that is done. This underlying culture means that individuals are less likely to take risks that could result in harm.
However, this is not true in other countries. A recent article in the Daily Mail highlighted in a series of amazing photographs of the risks that people take in carrying out a variety of everyday tasks. Even the newspaper recognises that the risks taken are “ridiculous to downright dangerous”.
So why do the people in the photographs take these risks? and why does a British newspaper paint these pictures as hilarious and dangerous?
The main reason is that in the United Kingdom we have had good systems protecting workers from harm stemming from a sound health and safety legal framework. Although health and safety rules are sometimes bashed in the media, workers in this country have come to expect safe and healthy working conditions. Whilst we are not perfect, our workplace accident rates are lower than other developed countries and much lower than third world and developing countries.
In other countries workers are not afforded the same protection and they become used to improvising to get the job done when there are no safety procedures – hence the type of photographs we see.
Of course, UK legislation does not provide automatic protection and we should certainly not be complacent about our good track record in recent years. The fundamental ownership of health and safety by employers and employees needs to continue so that we can continue to enjoy safe working.
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Bryan Richards 30th January 2014
Arinite Ltd, Warnford Court, 29 Throgmorton Street, London EC2N 2AT