Risk assessment in the workplace is getting out of control

Everybody knows we Brits are a nation of gamblers. Bingo is making a big comeback, our first supercasino just got the go-ahead, and the endurance of the National Lottery bears witness to our continued fascination with taking a chance. So why does employment law try to legislate for every possible risk, turning every accident into a blame game?

Since rules were introduced to require health and safety risk assessments, the concept has crept into all sorts of aspects of our lives. A few weeks ago, we had a dusting of snow in our region – heavy overnight, but gone by lunchtime. Yet most of the local schools were closed just because of the forecast. Apparently, head teachers had conducted a risk assessment, and decided that because they couldn’t guarantee how many teachers would make it in to work, they dared not open the school.

So many activities are being assessed out of existence it is getting ridiculous. School trips and office Christmas parties are under threat, but no amount of assessments will put an end to danger. Can’t we all just relax and enjoy life, and accept that accidents can and do happen?

My enlightened employer took us for a day out to the horse races at Lingfield a couple of years ago as a pat on the back for a good year. Incidentally, now that I’m a gambling addict, can I sue the company for putting me in harm’s way?


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