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They’ll be banning games of “I dare you to touch the dog’s arse” next!

Risk assesments aren’t always a bad thing……

Top fails of 2012 courtesy of Claret and Amber:

Accidents Will Happen

This is actually from 2009 but worth recounting nonetheless.

The quote from the solicitor and the final sentence from the HSE are worth their weight in gold.

A FARMER’S wife will receive a £25,000 pay-out from the Health & Safety Executive after falling down a hole while attending a safety awareness day.

Tania Foster’s right leg was permanently damaged after she fell into an uncovered drain at an HSE workshop at Churton, advising 200 agricultural workers how to avoid accidents.

Mrs Foster, of Brook Farm, Capenhurst, was to sue the HSE for pain, suffering and loss of amenity at Chester County Court.

But at the 11th hour the HSE – which does not accept liability – offered Mrs Foster about £25,000 and will pick up another £25,000 in legal costs.

Mrs Foster said: “I really don’t think that, for a permanent injury, that whatever I came out with, is actual compensation for that.”

Mrs Foster was part of a ‘tightly-packed’ group and in conversation with an HSE inspector when she was guided to a ‘use of ladders’ demonstration where she fell down the drain.

She remains on painkillers and must wear an ankle brace 24 hours a day after damaging her Achilles and metatarsal tendons.

“It’s painful but I have still got to get on with my job. My animals still need looking after.”
Mrs Foster said at the time that for an apology and a bunch of flowers she would have let the matter lie but was incensed by the attitude of the HSE’s lawyers.

Solicitor Michael Atkins told her in a letter: “I regret to conclude you were the author of your own misfortune and the HSE cannot admit liability for your actions and their results”.

The mother-of-two, who farms with husband Gary, added: “I will never be able to play tennis again. It’s only a little thing but my kids are both good tennis players and I can’t play with them.”

Tanya Stewart, HSE principal inspector, said: “Health and Safety Executive has settled this matter out of court, on the agreement we do not accept liability.

“Our preparation for the farming event at which the incident took place, included a risk assessment of the farm site and three visits by a health and safety awareness officer.

“The drainage hole is a common feature of working farms and as such, preventative action was not considered necessary for an event designed for farmers, farm workers and farming families.”

Benefit v Risk

A wee poem on this news

Sand pits, snotters, playing in the burn – digging up daisies and climbing trees
In and out of middens, catching wee fish – lumps on our heids and permaskint knees
Wipe it oan yer jumper! there’s a piece and jam – now away and enjoy yersel until it gets dark
Out on the scooter, out on the bike – a wee bit daring going further than the park

Manky but happy, always adventurous – rebels with a cause and the cause was FUN
Swimming in the river, swimming in the sea – not minding the weather much but hoping for sun
Primitive swings, a rope and a tyre – bogies made from scrap wood and a Silver Cross pram
Peashooters, catapults, throwing a stone – immature? yeah but we cared not a damn

Swig oot yer bottle? yuk there’s a floater! – dig in! but gonnae no’ eat up all o’ ma chips?
Noo who’s for a game o’ touch the dog’s arse – and I’ll double dare ye to touch yer lips!
How did we do it? How did we manage? How did we overcome disease or death?
How did we survive with no man with a clipboard – overseeing our every breath?

When Life Was Simpler

My thanks to my correspondent objective associates for this:

Thaw’d Off!

With the rise in temperature today there wouldn’t have been a bonspiel tomorrow anyway I doot. However it is an important principle and one which is still worth keeping an eye on. How long will it be before ski-ing, hillwalking, and mountain biking (all considerably more perilous than outdoor curling) attract the beady eyes of the health and safety bods?

Cut and Paste This

And send it to your MSP and MP

My reason for contacting you is that I am appalled that the curling community in Scotland are being treated so badly by our public sector representatives who have chosen to invoke Health & Safety legislation to prevent a Grand Match from taking place. World wide Media coverage of this unique event was absolutely certain so this is a lost opportunity for Scotland to put its beauty and splendour on the world stage. It is also a lost opportunity for curling clubs to interest and hopefully recruit new members. And finally it prevents some 2,400 people from having a really good time doing something healthy, enjoyable and socially worthwhile.

Please do this. If we all phone or email our MP/MSP they will react. There is an election coming up and they should all respond to phone calls and emails of complaint. The following links will confirm your MSP details:


This link will confirm who your MP is:


More Menteith Photos

Click on any of the photos to enlarge.

Walking On Water

Yes indeed, your intrepid blogger took a visit up to the Lake of Menteith this morning. I don’t have time at the moment to list all the hazards and dangers I faced on my journey to Port of Menteith or in my walk across the frozen lake but let me just say there was one point where a duck flew by and gave me a bit of a fright.

It was also a bit slippy, a  characteristic of ice which surely vindicates the elfin safety folks’ decision to kibosh Tuesday’s bonspiel.

Also I’d advise anyone with a fear of open spaces, fantastic scenery and convivial walkers to avoid the place in case they happen to feel that benefit might just outweigh risk in certain situations.

However a word of warning to would be visitors to the area. I got in no bother at 8am but when I left about two and a half hours later, this was the scene at Arnprior on the A811

Want to enjoy the outdoors in Scotland? Banned by decree!

Being fortunate to dodge the instruments of state earlier, I walked across the lake to the island of Inchmahome, which houses a priory,monastery and church dating from the thirteenth century.

The church on the island of Inchmahome, Lake of Menteith

A walk in another direction again across the lake took me to the Port of Menteith where the curlers lucky enough to have dodged the Gestapsnow were busy clearing rinks.

I spoke to the guys playing this match who had travelled from Kirriemuir Curling club. A great and friendly bunch of guys who it is fair to say had a dim view, expressed in somewhat industrial language about the Health and Safety Taliban.

The church bells were belting out Morning has Broken and Amazing Grace, enough to make even the most hard hearted atheist feel a bit spiritual.

I’ll post some more photos later but those hoping to organise a bonspiel for Tuesday will in all probability have to arrive in the middle of the night.

More Spiel

Aye it seems that the web is alive with threats and conspiracies to hold an unofficial, unauthorised grand match on the ice at Lake of Menteith anyway despite the official cancellation.

It’s turning into a kind of middle class middle aged rave!

Check out this from the Scotsman.

What a great victory for common sense over bureaucracy it would be if they managed it.

It would be a fantastic “Get it right up ye!” to the authorities.

If any of the conspirators are looking in drop me a line and let me know when it is.


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