Friday, April 8, 2011

Going against (some) human nature

You often read about health and safety gone mad, occasionally from me, but mostly out there in the MSM where because of litigation claims spiralling out of control and people seeing easy money to be had over the slightest thing we are developing a "risk averse" attitude amongst various groups who don't wish to be sued should someone be injured doing their job.

TWO friends saved a drowning man by ignoring the health and safety advice of the ambulance service and jumping into a freezing canal.
Brave Josh Felvus and Liam Jempson dialled 999 after seeing the man floundering in the icy water as they walked home after a night out.
But when the operator told them to stay on the towpath for their own good, the pair refused.
Mr Felvus, 20, and his 19-year-old friend plunged in and dragged the victim to the bank, just as he was beginning to sink below the surface.
Yesterday both young men spoke modestly as they recalled their heroics on an 8ft-deep feeder canal off the Avon, in Bristol.
Mr Jempson, from Bristol, said: “I just couldn’t watch this man die. It all happened quickly but I knew I had to do something. It’s only afterwards that I realised it could have been dangerous going into the water. The water was freezing and I was in shock afterwards.”
Well done those guys, yes it was dangerous but they saved a life, though if they'd followed "official" advice from the ambulance service they could have stayed safe and watched a man drown.
A spokeswoman for Great Western Ambulance Service said: “We don’t ask anyone to put themselves in danger and try to keep as many people safe as possible.”
That's the official line, it has to be, the operator could/would lose their job if they told the lads to jump in and rescue him, but it's also a prevalent attitude in the UK where doing nothing and staying safe is actively encouraged by the state and various private companies in case they are sued. The prevalence of claims for injury adverts on the tv shows how deep this current fad for claiming for every single thing that happens to you that hurts goes, so much so that companies will now spend thousands on training their staff to be careful, putting up guards and generally coming across as more nanny state than the nanny state.
Not that I'm saying that people should put their lives at risk doing every day things, but that we should at least accept that there are some risks worth doing, risking yourself to save a life being one of them, yes those two lads could have been killed, but they weren't they were have a go heroes and a guy is alive because they were willing and able to take a risk.
It just strikes me as very sad that society has gone the way it has where people in authority have to actively discourage risk taking where a life is concerned, a simple don't do anything stupid, not a stay on the towpath should have been enough.
Perhaps it's time to reign back the compensation and risk averse culture in England at least.

2 annotations:

James Higham said...

When will some common sense come back into what people do in the public sphere?

Jim said...

Shakespeare, Henry VI, act 4 scene 2:

'The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers'

Looks like its been a problem for centuries.