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> Health and safety gone mad, overzealous health and safety today?
bryden42
post Sep 2 2005, 12:56 PM
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I have spent the last 6 weeks doing P.A.T. (portable appliance testing for the uninitiated) this involves me pulling apart anything with a plug and some things without and checking to see if they are wired correctly, I then shove various currents and voltages through the item to check that it can handle them. after this i put a sticker on the item to say that it is good for another year or six months. i have to do this for each of the 3675 items in our stock database.

my question is this. is this excessive?

electricity kills, and i understand this better than most (having recived numerous shocks in my time, ironic huh?) and I can understand the desire to ensure that the item that you are putting in anothers, or your own, hand is safe. However in my experience most accidents occur when some thicko uses an item innapropriately or when it is obviously (bare wires showing) damaged.
The issue is wider than this, we are moving towards (already in?) a climate that states that no one may perform any task that they have not had specific training for. Where does common sense come into this? is sense as common as i believe it to be? how long before i have to have a licence to walk to the shops?

Discuss!


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funky fairy
post Sep 2 2005, 12:59 PM
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I have to do a risk awareness thingy next month, to show me how to operate fire doors (what???) and fire extinguishers. Yet I am allowed to work on my own for 6 hours at a time with sharp objects and autoclaves that operate at 138 degrees!!!

And I already know how to operate a fire door!


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Mata
post Sep 2 2005, 01:06 PM
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I've been in shops that have things on very high shelves. I'm a tall person so usually I can use a foot stool to get up to even the highest of objects in rooms, but often in such places a member of staff has to go and get a step-ladder that they then climb to get me the object I could have reached with minimal effort on my own, all because they wouldn't be covered by their insurance if I happened to be incapable of standing on a solid stationary object. To me that's just excessive.

If you take your time over it, testing 20 items per day, and decide that all the items need to be retested in 6 months then you would never have to do anything else at all!


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Sir Psycho Sexy
post Sep 2 2005, 02:05 PM
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As it goes, I think PAT testing is useful and in the interest of the general public. It's not like you have to do it for household items. It's mostly for insurance in any case.

It's funny how common sense isn't that common. tongue.gif


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Cath Sparrow
post Sep 2 2005, 02:31 PM
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I think it's a vicious circle people put more and more 'Guide Lines ' in so people us there common scence less so more Guide lines get put in and it all adds up to shear stupidity.


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Usurper MrTeapot
post Sep 2 2005, 02:41 PM
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"I say take the safety labels off of everything and let the problem sort its self out."


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bryden42
post Sep 2 2005, 03:19 PM
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QUOTE
If you take your time over it, testing 20 items per day


I wish i could go that slow, I'd be fired within 2 days!

QUOTE
As it goes, I think PAT testing is useful and in the interest of the general public. It's not like you have to do it for household items. It's mostly for insurance in any case.


Being a college, and being that our students wire a lot of our leads as part of their assessments I can appreciate the usefulness of finding the live wire stuck into the earth socket (it happens with more regularity than i would like) we also find some horrific things inside prebuilt items that we purchase, so i would refute the claim that, for us at least, it is mostly for insurance.

Considering the litigous playground that is America, how long is it going to be (if it hasn't already happened) before someone sues another home owner for an accident occuring in a private dwelling? something like the kettle being porly maintained and giving a fairly nasty shock, this then opens up a flood of similar litigation that sends the cost of insurances sky high unless you have items pat tested in your home. Through financial pressure we then get to live in a state where we do have to PAT test our personal items.


QUOTE
I have to do a risk awareness thingy next month


Ahh risk assessments, one of my favourite things, I know why don't we take 20 minutes filling out a form that basicly covers the thought processess that would go through my head in the 3 seconds before i did anything risky.

Task entering an area with overhead rigging taking place.
Is it dangerous? yes
likelihood of injury 2
severity of injury 8
5x5= danger level 16 (low risk)
is there a better way to achieve the task No
is there a way to minimise the risk Yes (wear a hard hat)

Ok then i'll wear the hard hat and carry on with the job, I dont need to fill in a form in triplicate, send one copy to my boss, one copy to the H@S officer and keep one for myself getting each of the above to sign the damn thing, just to walk into my theatre. All this would have gone through my head the second i saw that there were people rigging.

QUOTE
"I say take the safety labels off of everything and let the problem sort its self out."


Ahhh a darwinist after my own heart!


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mooooooooooopo
post Sep 3 2005, 11:20 AM
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I'm all for the darwinist approach, at least after the point where the warnings get stupidly obvious.

My house mate brought a breadmaker last year, in the manual they felt it necessary to point out that:
a You should never drop the breadmaker from a height onto somebody's head.
b It might burn you if you try to grab your just cooked bread and eat it without letting it cool.

If something is non-obvious but dangerous then yes, there should be a warning, if something is common sense though then I don't see why it's necessary.

I think PAT makes sense though, there are a lot of people in the world who would try to fix something themselves and fail which could get pretty dangerous. PAT would detect their inept fiddlings though maybe too late.

I'm not sure how on topic this is but at work last year we discovered the wonders of a broken air conditioning unit above a couple of rows of racks full of network kit in the R&D lab. You would think that the person who designed the layout of the room would figure that it's not good to have an airconditioning unit that'll spurt water everywhere when it breaks above and within range of a good 6cubic metres of densely packed electronics.
Nothing was broken but it could have been nasty.


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Daria
post Sep 3 2005, 01:39 PM
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They should do safety checks on the people more than the products. Or "fools" tests- ie how much would it take for someone to electrocute themselves on this...?


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bryden42
post Sep 3 2005, 01:42 PM
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ooooh I like that idea, I have plenty of students that would make good test subjects for that kind of thing laugh.gif


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Mata
post Sep 3 2005, 02:13 PM
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The 'take all the labels off' approach isn't actually that silly... In Wiltshire, a nearby county in the UK, they have removed all road markings and found that, because it makes drivers more cautious, it has greatly reduced the number of accidents.


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JimiJimi
post Sep 3 2005, 02:30 PM
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Only a few days ago I was trying to fit a lightbulb, and so I put my finger into the socket to see if it was a screw fitting or bayonet. Very clever. But it was obvious that that was going to happen, I was just very tired and wasn't thinking at the time, so I doubt that reading any kind of manual would have prevented that from happening.

I would quite like it if the darwinist approach was widely accepted...


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Snugglebum the D...
post Sep 3 2005, 03:02 PM
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QUOTE (Mata @ Sep 3 2005, 03:13 PM)
The 'take all the labels off' approach isn't actually that silly... In Wiltshire, a nearby county in the UK, they have removed all road markings and found that, because it makes drivers more cautious, it has greatly reduced the number of accidents.
*


We do it because we're anti - social and want to disuade people from coming here. Next project we're campaigning to remove all road signs and street lights. We have high hopes. ph34r.gif


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Hobbes
post Sep 3 2005, 08:11 PM
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Unfortunately common sense is no longer a given. Soon, kids'll be taking it as classes in school, and having exams on it. And "live and learn" is no longer the usual practice. It's become, "live... and get that chance to sue someone". People's stupidity just because an opportunity to pass the buck.

Ho hum...

So perhaps I should sue Ford for allowing me to stick my finger in the cigarette lighter in order to get a bit of metal out that had fallen into it, causing me to get a bit of a shock tongue.gif (and blow that particular fuse in my car).

I mean... there was no big yellow sign above it saying, "Do not stick parts of your body in this hole."
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mooooooooooopo
post Sep 3 2005, 09:09 PM
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I can't help but wonder what will happen when the cost of the warning labels outweighs the cost of the product, the economy crashes and people shirk responsibility and blame stupidity.

Failing that pocket size products like mp3 players weigh 2kg and are the size of a brick thanks to a zealous coating of warning labels.

>_>


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Mata
post Sep 4 2005, 06:17 PM
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QUOTE (Hobbes @ Sep 3 2005, 08:11 PM)
I mean... there was no big yellow sign above it saying, "Do not stick parts of your body in this hole."
*

I think they hope that their customers don't feel that way about their cars.

Ooo... Did I just spam? ph34r.gif

Maybe if China stopped producing textiles and started making warning signs instead then the EU could be threatened by them cornering that market instead...


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funky fairy
post Sep 4 2005, 06:19 PM
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I once stuck my finger in a cigerette lighter to check if it was working!


It was, I burnt my finger!


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Hobbes
post Sep 4 2005, 07:06 PM
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QUOTE (funky fairy @ Sep 4 2005, 07:19 PM)
I once stuck my finger in a cigerette lighter to check if it was working!

It was, I burnt my finger!
*


Thus. I'd deem that as an effective way of testing that particular device. smile.gif
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Astarael
post Sep 4 2005, 10:24 PM
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The Darwinist approach to labels would be very nice. They don't really protect young children who can't read, and older people should know better. Honestly, if you're stupid enough to try to use your hair dryer in the shower, what's the point of a label? If you don't die of the electrocution and you wnat some money, you'll sue the company and say that the tag isn't comprehensive enough. I hope every day for the end of stupid lawsuits, but I suppose it isn't likely. mad.gif Common sense is dying instead of stupid people dying and becoming object lessons. I gnash my teeth at the utter collapse of Darwinism among humans.


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markslut
post Sep 11 2005, 08:45 PM
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There is currently someone who lost a daughter in a rail crash last year campiagning for train windows to made totally unbreakable after the daughter fell through a broken window when a high speed train hit a car and rolled.

If he gets his way I wonder what will be said when the next accident happens and no-one can get out


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Jonman
post Sep 12 2005, 09:09 AM
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QUOTE (bryden42 @ Sep 2 2005, 04:19 PM)
Being a college, and being that our students wire a lot of our leads as part of their assessments I can appreciate the usefulness of finding the live wire stuck into the earth socket (it happens with more regularity than i would like) we also find some horrific things inside prebuilt items that we purchase, so i would refute the claim that, for us at least, it is mostly for insurance.
*


I disagree. It's exactly because of insurance. Any company that has any contact with the public will have liability insurance to cover them against any damage to the public as a result of their activities, mainly because other companies will often refuse to do business with them without it. In fact, pretty much any company whatsoever. As part of the terms of that insurance, PAT testing will be specified by the insurer. From the insurer's point of view, it's a great way of ensuring a minimum of accidents as a result of faulty equipment. Which means less claims, which means a more predictable rate of claims, and less claims.

Imagine a world without insurance. There would be no need for PAT testing. A responsible organisation would still do it, to protect their employees and customers, but there would no longer be anyone forcing the organisation to do it.


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snooodlysnoosnoo...
post Sep 12 2005, 08:47 PM
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QUOTE (Mata @ Sep 4 2005, 06:17 PM)
QUOTE (Hobbes @ Sep 3 2005, 08:11 PM)
I mean... there was no big yellow sign above it saying, "Do not stick parts of your body in this hole."
*

I think they hope that their customers don't feel that way about their cars.

Ooo... Did I just spam? ph34r.gif
*



Oww Mata beat me to the innuendo.

How many people actually read the labels anyway? If it's something obvious then I wouldn't read them. With things like medication I always read the label, almost every time... to me there is so much more that can go wrong with that than a seemingly in good working order piece of electrical equiptment.

One of my lecturers once shoved a knife into a toaster to get her toast out without switching the thing off at the plug and actually (seemed to be) boasted about it to us in her lecture. I'd at least switch the thing off if I was going to shove a knife in...


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Snugglebum the D...
post Sep 12 2005, 08:53 PM
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QUOTE
One of my lecturers once shoved a knife into a toaster to get her toast out without switching the thing off at the plug


My mum does that all the time. Course, this is the same woman who filled the car with petrol from a jerry can with a cigarette hanging out of her mouth and once nuked the BBQ meat in the microwave on a flimsy plastic plate...

Ummm - Miss Unknown, tell Mum she's a dumbarse for me. blink.gif


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Usurper MrTeapot
post Sep 12 2005, 10:54 PM
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Come on people. Do we really need instructions AND safety warnings on the back of the shampoo bottles?


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