Too much safety creates victims

A lollipop man in Scotland had his lollipop stick confiscated because it was covered in illegal stickers and was a safety issue.

The 69-year-old who is working his notice after being ordered to stop giving children sweets and ‘high-fives’ as they cross the road was stunned to have his stick removed by a council official yesterday.

The reason given was that it had been covered in “illegal” stickers from pupils – one reading “Give us five” in support of his fight and was therefore a safety issue.

Elsewhere in Britain health and safety requirements prevent bank staff from helping a wheelchair bound customer.

As her local NatWest branch has no wheelchair access, two staff had been helping lift her manual chair up from the street into the bank during her weekly visits.

But last month NatWest’s head office banned workers from helping her up the steps claiming it could breach health and safety rules or cause an accident.

She now has to wait for a member of staff to become available and conduct her private banking in public on the street leaving her feeling ”ashamed and humiliated”.

I can see the potential for problems if the staff injured themselves or the customer while helping her. But life’s fatal and sometimes the benefits of taking a small risk are worth it.

I was at an agribusiness discussion group meeting on leadership yesterday. One of the messages we were given was that ownership, accountability and responsibility makes us victors. Blame, excuses and denial make us victims.

In the not too distant past the banks staff and the customer would have accepted responsibility for their actions. Now the employer has to have rules in case the bank gets blamed for an accident and the customer becomes a victim.

These examples of how too much safety creates victims come from the Adam Smith Institute’s newsletter.

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