‘Jobsworths’ are Putting Lives at Risk

David Brown, Chief Executive at the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE).

That’s the view of Dr David Brown, Chief Executive at the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE). He says that lives are being put at risk by ‘jobsworths and killjoys’ who hide behind health and safety legislation.

Speaking at the IChemE’s recent Hazards XX conference in Manchester, Dr Brown said this misguided approach could result in health and safety professionals who highlight real hazards being dismissed as ‘crying wolf’ and added that repeated misrepresentation of Health and Safety rules encourages ‘jobsworths and killjoys’.

Citing examples including the banning of Christmas lights and practical science in school classrooms, Dr Brown called on engineers to fight back against nonsensical interpretations of ‘Health and Safety’ law and insisted that safety management must be based on an understanding of real risks - not trivia.

"Should the misreading of Health and Safety law continue, there is a ‘real danger’ that when a genuine hazard arises, those who draw attention to it will be ignored, putting lives at risk as a result," said Dr Brown.

"Engineers should protest loud, long and often against the abuse of health and safety by the jobsworth and the killjoy. The profession must reclaim balanced and rational safety management, based on engineering common sense."

Dr Brown highlighted the role of chemical engineers as professionals with the skills to interpret safety legislation with common sense and stressed that it was not the regulators or legislators who should be blamed, rather the people who repeatedly use the mantra ‘health and safety says No!’ as an excuse.

NOTE: Over 300 international chemical engineers and safety experts attended the Hazards XX conference in Manchester, UK, a biennial event organised by the Institution’s UK north-west member group. For more information visit www.icheme.org/hazardsxx

Hydrogen Update

In our last issue Prof Keith Guy of the IChemE commented upon whether a hydrogen economy could ever become a reality. Well, that reality looked another step closer last week, following the installation by the University of Birmingham of what they claimed was the first hydrogen gas fuelling station in England. The station has been installed to help facilitate research into the viability of hydrogen in transport. Furthermore the Chemical Engineering Dept has taken delivery of five hydrogen-powered vehicles as part of their hydrogen energy project which has receive Regional Development funding from Advantage West Midlands.

Prog Guy commented in Valve User last time that "Valves for hydrogen service will have to be reliable, intrinsically safe and ‘idiot proof’." It appears that a mass-market for such valves might soon be a possibility.

That’s the view of Dr David Brown, Chief Executive at the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE). He says that lives are being put at risk by ‘jobsworths and killjoys’ who hide behind health and safety legislation.

Speaking at the IChemE’s recent Hazards XX conference in Manchester, Dr Brown said this misguided approach could result in health and safety professionals who highlight real hazards being dismissed as ‘crying wolf’ and added that repeated misrepresentation of Health and Safety rules encourages ‘jobsworths and killjoys’.

Citing examples including the banning of Christmas lights and practical science in school classrooms, Dr Brown called on engineers to fight back against nonsensical interpretations of ‘Health and Safety’ law and insisted that safety management must be based on an understanding of real risks - not trivia.

"Should the misreading of Health and Safety law continue, there is a ‘real danger’ that when a genuine hazard arises, those who draw attention to it will be ignored, putting lives at risk as a result," said Dr Brown.

"Engineers should protest loud, long and often against the abuse of health and safety by the jobsworth and the killjoy. The profession must reclaim balanced and rational safety management, based on engineering common sense."

Dr Brown highlighted the role of chemical engineers as professionals with the skills to interpret safety legislation with common sense and stressed that it was not the regulators or legislators who should be blamed, rather the people who repeatedly use the mantra ‘health and safety says No!’ as an excuse.

NOTE: Over 300 international chemical engineers and safety experts attended the Hazards XX conference in Manchester, UK, a biennial event organised by the Institution’s UK north-west member group. For more information visit www.icheme.org/hazardsxx

Published in Valve User Magazine Issue 6


Autumn 2019 // Issue 50
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