29. Health and Safety

Many blogs ago I recanted you all with a story of how 2 acrobatic plumbers installed a new boiler in my kitchen armed with nothing more than a wrong sized spanner and a shoe lace.  It was poetry in motion.  I made a brief mention of the fact that if the Nazi’s Health and Safety Executive had witnessed such an act take place in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and England and Wales and Scotland Isles then they would either suffer a massive coronary or slap such sanctions of the offender it would eclipse those imposed on Iran.

I read an article today that stated that a massive Health and Safety project is coming our way.  A project aimed at stamping out all the evils of the world by supplying hard hats to bus drivers and high-viz jackets to traffic lights.  I gulped.  I do look around and always instinctively compare what I see here to what I would expect to see at home and my observations are always top-notch pub chatter.  But why will the UAE feel the need to follow the way of the Great United Isles of Kingdom?  It’s an awful model.

I have always worked in an industry that has required me to have lots H&S savvy and exposure, I know the rules.  I know what’s safe and what’s not, I also possess common sense and I know when things “will be ok”.  I don’t care for the Health and Safety Executive and his red-tape regime and am a firm believer that mistakes make the man, you learn from your errors.  The H&S Executive tries to stop us making mistakes, and as such the newer generations aren’t learning for themselves and are totally ignorant to the dangers of the world.  If you want to put your tongue in a live plug socket, go for it, you’ll only do it once though…


People are scared of the Health and Safety Man and his mad power lust and lawyers.  I have seen in the past people going on about not being able to do this, not being able to do that and even shielding behind it when it suits them in order to avoid doing any work…it causes such hindrance.  I can confirm from my own experience that it also makes things a lot more expensive.  Having to take training lessons on how to climb a ladder and so on…its utter madness and the bureaucracy is endless.

Health and Safety in the UAE at the moment isn’t that bad.  In fact I’d go as far to say that it doesn’t really exist, not how we would see it anyway.  It’s all well and good making the motorway workers wear high-visibility jackets and – for reasons I simply cannot understand – wave a red flag.  But have you ever been to a building site?  It’s like a real life version of The Crystal Maze; can you get to the other side without being killed?

There are men using angle grinders with no safety guards.  Oh no it’s ok, they’re wearing a blue set of overalls…twinned with a pair of sandals and no goggles.  None of the equipment has a plug on it…a project stopper back home.  Here?  Nope, just jimmy the live and the neutral wires in there, it’ll be fine.  I charge you to take a look at the scaffolding…it’s no more than a collection of twisted, rusty sticks held together with pure hope.  If the Health and Safety Fuehrer was sent to inspect he’d have to fill out so many forms he would need to destroy the remainder of the Amazon.  Its things like this that should be addressed…not the smaller things.  And this is why I gulped after reading the article.  The target will be missed.

Whilst I would never imply that an employee’s wellbeing should be put at risk, I fear that if the H&S laws over here followed the way of the West the swiftness of simple jobs would be greatly affected.  I don’t think that Johnny Plumber and Joe Electrician would be able to afford all they needed to comply, and if I’m honest even begin to understand all the rules.  They will therefore not be able to work.  So what will we do when they’re gone?

I don’t have the talent to install a boiler barefoot with a shoelace…do you?

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2 thoughts on “29. Health and Safety

  1. People doing labour work in countries like UAE n KSA live like a king back home, or at least their families do, in their community, if they return they might commit suicide or die of hunger cz they’d nt be able to provide fr themselves and their families, even the very basic necessities cz ov poverty and joblessness. I’m sure they wont even be aware of the health and safety issues you’ve mentioned, or wud never ve given it a thot, cz all that matters is the little sum of money they’re getting 🙂 if one expires there are many to take his place. They can do anything, if they can risk their lives, why not learn some safety rules?

    • Absolutely. It is the duty of the employers to ensure safety for the workers…but the correct area must be tackled first. Sadly in Britain things get done the wrong way around! Good comment, thanks Marriam

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