It’s the insurance market gone mad!

One of my favourite put-downs whenever I encounter something particular stupid or inane is to enquire as to whether the author has a problem with literacy or comprehension, a question I’d like to direct to a Tory Councillor in Norwich by the name of Anthony Little is regards to this recent gem:

It’s Health and Safety Gone Mad!

My favourite story of the week that went shamefully unnoticed in all newspapers, except that organ-of-truth Eastern Evening News, was the Health & Safety exectuive’s [sic] attack on yet another bastion of childhood.

The Panto being shown on the pier at Great Yarmouth has apparently been told it cannot partake in the tradition of throwing sweets into the audience in case a child gets hurts by being struck on the head by one. Oh dear. Hence from now on, they will pass the sweets from the front row back, in a calm and orderly manner.

And it is true that children viewing this panto will have sweets passed to them in a safe, non-threatening manner at this year’s panto because of concerns about ‘health and safety’ but that’s about the only thing in the whole story that Anthony’s got right/

For starters, the show isn’t ‘on the pier at Great Yarmouth’ but at the Pavillion Theatre at Gorleston near Great Yarmouth, which is about four miles away from the actual pier at Great Yarmouth and not actually on a pier so much as being situated next to a quayside.

Oh, and the story didn’t actually go unnoticed either, shamefully or otherwise. Before Anthony posted his comments on the 9th December, it had previously appeared in the Norfolk Eastern Daily Press, Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, Daily Mirror, Scunthorpe Telegraph and Glasgow Daily Record.

And, as you might expect, this whole business has absolutely fuck all to do with the Health and Safety Executive, who deal only in cases involving serious injury and death – in fact it has nothing at all to do with government bureaucracy and everything to do with a bit of private sector ‘bureaucracy’, as the Daily Mail explains, after getting in its usual ‘jobsworth’ dig:

Theatre bosses were forced to impose the order after two pensioners complained about being hit by bonbons during a performance of Jack and the Beanstalk last year.

The director, Kevin Lynch, rang his public liability insurers and received some worrying news.

“They advised us that we probably wouldn’t be covered in the event of someone getting hurt,” said Mr Lynch, from the Pavilion Theatre in Gorleston, Norfolk.

“They suggested throwing a sweet at someone would be viewed as an act of negligence rather than a simple accident, and we would therefore be liable to pay compensation.”

Mr Lynch added: “It is a great shame that a long-standing tradition has ended but we really have no choice.

“We have to make sure we do not open ourselves to being sued.”

So it’s not actually about health and safety law or bureaucracy, its about the possibility that if throwing sweets into the audience did cause someone an injury and the theatre found itself on the wrong end of litigation from a private individual – under the common law of Tort, not health and safety law I should add – then its private sector insurers might very well cry negligence and weasel out of to coughing up on the theatre’s public liability cover.

Doesn’t look much like ‘political correctness’ at work here, in fact it looks a lot like the insurance market at work here,

So the story here is not ‘health and safety gone mad’ but ‘Tory councillor full of shit’.

  • Chris Baldwin

    Yeah, but that’s a ‘dog bites man’ kind of story, isn’t it?

  • redpesto

    You’re right: it’s not H&S – besides, theatres have to have Public Liability Insurance (re. the public), and have carried out risk assessments for such things:

    A: How do we minimise the risk of injuring someone when we throw the sweeties?
    B: Er…don’t throw them?.
    A: Agreed. Next!

    Job done.

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  • Phil

    241 people killed at work last year – highest for five years – while prosecutions, inspections and enforcement are down.
    what’s mad is that generally the only health and safety stories that get reported are made-up nonsense such as this panto one.

  • Peter

    Yes it is a ‘Health and Safety gone mad’ story. Most Health and Safety gone mad’ stories and nothing to do with actual health and safety legislation but the interpretation of them by idiots. In thais case those idiots include the Director ringing up the Insurance company – ‘are we covered for throwing sweets?’. What did he think they were going to say? The other idiot was the Insurance company rep. ‘Now let me see – is there something in our contract that covers for injury by throwing of sweets….Nope’. Again back to the idiot Director. ‘Ooooh. I’m not covered in case of injury. It must be banned then’ Did anyone do a risk assessment of the likleyhood and seriousness of injury? So maybe it is not Health and safety gone mad, but is is a story of idiots who are using Health and Safety as a lame excuse for ass covering.

    Reminds me about visiting the local bed shop. On the bunk bed is a sign banning anyone climbing up to the top bunk ‘cos it is dangerous. On inquirying why they are selling a dangerous item for use by children, the salesman explained that it is not really dangersous, but their insurance company banned it. To my point that if the insurance company has banned it, it must be dangerous, the salesman did not have an answer. Of course I know that the insurance company has only banned it because they imagine that it might possibly reduce their liability, and the bed company follow like lap dogs because no-one has the balls to tell them that they are idiots (or pay the extra premium the insurance company has just made up when some idiot asked them if they were covered).

  • newmania

    The Insurance market gone mad ….well no. It is a staggeringly efficient way of distributing risk but covers are pulled when it is found that negligence can be established or there is a the suspicion that in the environment we live in set partly by the Health and Safety Executive . Whenever the realm of responsibility is expanded the atmosphere of fear and caution constricts activity .The market can no longer cover adventure Playgrounds for example because the money produced will not bear the Premium required in the legal environment perceived and real set by the Health and safety and the grater left its nobodies fault ever , constituency. You and you evil v cohorts will not be content until we live like battery chickens .

    Whoever Phil is I have some absolutely lovely one that have never made the news . My suspicion would be that deaths are linked ot the necessity to outsource Labour to BFSC`s in high hazard locations these specialise , amongst other things in establishing the paper culpability of the Labour they supply . This can be done by getting them to sign web based products that accept the full and proper training has been done , who knows perhaps some of them do it. It is sad that the people who are responsible for this whole area are always work shy public sector pen pushers who could it sit the right way round on a lavatory seat. Regulation is a moving war and I daresay further an further restrictions will combat more and more ways to only seem to comply until the whole edifice crumbles under its own weight . this is exactly why the ultra controlling centralised public Government via a huge state never never works . In the web age that is doubly true and it is telling that in this case the interne thas been the vehicle for ignoring even basic safety.
    The Insurance Industry actually make a good contribution to safety left to its own devices because it suits the pocket of both Parties and ot of the goodness of those those involved who are no more rapacious and immoral than anyone else

  • patrick

    its communism by the back door.

  • Apparently you like to question if the author of things you disagree with have literacy problems. Well you clearly do, my name is ANTONY not ANTHONY which you could have sourced correctly in all number of places.