Sunday, 20 September 2009

A Question Of Priorities…

For more than 200 years the church clock of St Michael's has kept the good people of Helston in Cornwall up with the times.

And for all that time, a volunteer warden has trudged up the tower on his own to wind the mechanism that keeps it ticking.
Ah, you know what’s coming, don’t you?
Now a tradition that dates back to 1793 is coming to an end - because of the health and safety brigade.

Warden Roger Nott has been told the job is too dangerous because he has to climb a ladder and reach out to wind up the clock.
How many times has he fallen off his ladder?

None. Zero times. Zip. Nada.

So, it’s not at all dangerous for the police and council to ignore anti-social behaviour, even though it has been proven to drive people to murder and suicide, but it is dangerous to allow a volunteer to climb a ladder to wind a clock?


Burt and Liz said...

Excuse our interruption but we have an identical safety problem with respect to the four steps our milkman must negotiate daily up to our front door.

We had an emergency visit by three Inspectors from Merdebucket District Council, who spent a day taking measurements and photographs. This preceded Improvement Notice MBDC/H&S/2975610/G9/26a requiring us to lower our bungalow by 0.754 metres or face prosecution and having the work done in default by the Council.

It seems to be a straightforward matter of remortgaging or acquiring a taste for black tea but we wondered if your had alternate suggestions?

Albert and Elizabeth (91 and 90years young).

Rob said...

If he's been doing it for over 200 years and hasn't fallen off there's a fair chance it isn't dangerous.

Here's a solution - carry on doing it anyway. Call their bluff. If they prosecute you, you'll be a hero and a martyr, the publicity will blow the case out of the water. They'll be a laughing stock.

In fact, I would use the article to contemptuously state that'll I be doing it anyway, and I would state the exact time and date. Bring it on! The sight of a church warden being led away in handcuffs while pikeys and hoodies run amok with impunity would make a good story.

sobers said...

They won't be prosecuted if they continue, because H&S only produce guidelines. If someone fell off they MIGHT prosecute then, but only if nothing had been done at all to think about the dangers and try and mitigate them (for example fitting a ladder with a safety cage, like they have on building site cranes).

The problem arises because insurers take any chance they can to reduce their (perceived) risks and say 'If you don't comply 100% with H&S guidelines, we won't cover you'. And stupid people on committees get worried and over react.

H&S will never give you a hard and fast 'this is OK, that isn't' ruling. Because they want to be able to prosecute you if something goes wrong. If they've said X was OK and there is an accident you have a defence. If they say nothing concrete, they have the power to decide if you've done wrong.

What the Church needs in this case is an independent H&S advisor. Someone who actually knows the law, and what is considered safe practice in other areas. I see ladders up the side of phone masts and building cranes that are massively taller than 8 feet! They are 'safe' presumably, so it should not be impossible to make an 8 foot ladder to similar specifications.

sobers said...

FFS! I just looked at the article. I assumed he had to climb up some vertical ladder to get to another level of the building.

But its just a control box mounted up on the wall. All you need is one of those ladder things on wheels with side rails.

Like this:

Why are the people in charge of these things so f**king stupid!!!!!!

JuliaM said...

"...but we wondered if your had alternate suggestions? "

Other than turning the clock back and making sure we never, ever gave councils the power to ruin people's lives in this way?

Sadly, no. Or at least, none that are legal.

But rob's suggestion is a good one.

"Bring it on!"

Indeed. The more people start kicking over the traces, the better. But it can bring unwelcome consequences.

"I assumed he had to climb up some vertical ladder to get to another level of the building.

But its just a control box mounted up on the wall. All you need is one of those ladder things on wheels with side rails. "

Barmy, isn't it?


AntiCitizenOne said...


Taxpayers fund ‘Doolittle’ awayday for quango staff

staff at a disability quango have been sent to a farm at taxpayers’ expense to improve management skills by communicating with animals.

JuliaM said...

*prays for e-coli outbreak*

Joe Public said...

"How many times has he fallen off his ladder?"

As the clock has been wound for more than 200 years, the question ought to be "How many times has anyone fallen off the ladder?"