It's a peril that only a crack team of health and safety experts could have uncovered.Really? How, exactly?
After two years and £250,000, they found that ten-pin bowling alleys up and down the country could be a 'very dangerous' environment for families.
Is this the danger of getting your fingers caught in the holes and breaking a nail?
The bizarre Health and Safety Executive report found that members of the public would be at risk if they walked along the 60-foot lanes to knock over pins by hand.And who would do that?
Its authors even considered ordering every bowling alley to put barriers across lanes. But they were forced to admit defeat - after realising that bowlers must be able to see what they are aiming at.I’m somewhat surprised that that actually stopped them. Normally, the fact that you’d no longer be able to carry out the same function wouldn’t normally be considered a hindrance…
Instead they have told operators to fit photoelectric beams to lanes so that pin-setting machines will cut off automatically if anyone trespasses.But despite this, the HSE issued their orders regardless.
John Ashbridge, of The Ten-Pin Bowling Proprietors Association, said: 'I have been in this industry for 40 years and I have never known any member of the public injured by a bowling pinsetter. I have never heard of anybody going near the pins.'
Mr Ashbridge said he had watched HSE inspectors examining a bowling centre and he found their attempts to detect possible dangers 'hilarious'.They cost money, though. I expect the bowling lane operators found that a little less than hilarious…
He added: 'Some operators have now fitted photoelectric beams. They don't cause any problems - they don't stop the machines because nobody ever goes near the pins.'
Did something prompt this?
The HSE inquiry was begun after a technician was crushed to death in 2006 in Barking, East London, when a pin-setting machine was mistakenly left plugged in.So, rather than issue instructions that leaving the machine plugged in could result in your technicians being folded, spindled and mutilated, they embarked on an epic two year quest to increase the overheads for bowling alleys all across the country…
Susie Squire, of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: 'The HSE has overreacted to a one-off tragedy by wasting a fortune of taxpayers' money producing a pointless, naval-gazing report.'Might as well criticise fish for swimming and birds for flying, Susie. It’s what they do…