By continuing to use this site, you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more

Chisels V. Health & Safety

All Topics | Latest Posts

Search for:  in Thread Title in  
Delete30/04/2008 09:47:00
575 forum posts


I dont think the basic test is "if you employ someone". I think you will find its"If you do work for reward", in otherwords you could bw a Sole trader.


Rob Johnson30/04/2008 19:43:00
378 forum posts
19 photos

A gang of roofers I know were required to change their footwear to solid-soled boots with steel they struggle to climb around on rafters and battens, and have doubled their accident rate. Rules.....!


I rest my case. Insisting that one rule fits all jobs? Hard hats that fall off and clobber someone below because you are  a roofer, whats giong to fall on you ..the moon ?

My opinion is that they are a bunch of do gooder no brainers looking to keep a cushy job,

please someone prove definatively that I am wrong.

Mike the "remit" will change when all the manufacturing goes overseas to places that have a non existent or a sensible HSE body (fiscal factors will also have a bearing, like not paying dum dums to say no as often as possible!)

I think i would need a lot of persuasion to think better of them, let the debate commence...... 

Geoff Ryan01/05/2008 19:31:00
12 forum posts
4 photos

After 35 years as an engineer in the electrical distribution industry I've seen some horrific accidents - including close colleauges being burned to death. A few years ago we reached a new height of killing and maiming and, following a couple of particularly gruesome incidents, we set up a new safety auditing department. For three years I've been a full time Safety engineer and I'm proud of what we have achieved - where we differ from many "jobsworth" safety departments is we listen. We arrive on site unnanounced and talk to people - if we find things wrong we help people to do things better - this includes looking at better tools and equipment or better methods of doing jobs. It is impossible to remove all risk from human activity - but with a little thought and effort it is possible to reduce it to an acceptable level. The result is staff are changing their attitudes to health and safety issues - they all realise we want them to go home in one piece - it's good for them and it is good for the business - experienced people are hard to replace!

We find that the people at most risk are the young inexperienced ones and the middle aged know-it-alls who think they know best.

There are plenty of tales around about over-the-top attitudes to dealing with safety but there are a lot more about the results of careless managers who don't really care about their staff. A friend of mine is a senior HSE inspector and can tell some awful stories - like the factory owner who removed the cover guard from an industrial shredder so the job could be done faster - they were only able to positively identify the person who fell in by analysing the bloody mush that came out of the other end.

This forum could do some real good by exchanging ideas on how to do things better (and safer)!

Mike Garnham01/05/2008 20:32:00
4114 forum posts
1 photos

Unfortunately Geoff, (and welcome to the site by the way), most people's direct experience of Health and Safety stuff is the petty, bureaucratic and illogical nonsense such as forcing roofers to wear hobnailed boots.

One site I visited regularly required me, the architect, to not only wear safety boots and hard-hat (fair enough), but also gloves and goggles. These had to be the ones they provided, so that they could be sure they complied with some standard or another.....I couldn't provide my own.

The goggles so distorted my vision that I struggled to know where I was putting my feet, and the gloves made it impossible for me to hold a pencil, so I couldn't take any notes. When once I removed a glove so that I might take a photo, I was immediately warned about my conduct and told that unless I replaced it I would be removed from the site forthwith. In the end, despite raising these issues regularly with the contractor's H&S man, I was so handicapped by these ridiculous impediments that I ceased visiting the site......which of course led to contractual difficulties. 

I thoroughly agree with the aims of H&S, and agree that we had to do something about the appalling standards of the 80'........but what we have now is not the right solution. 

As for your last comment, I think that if you were to look through old threads on this site you would find that there is a very great deal of Health and Safety advice and comment. Ollie (OPJ) is renowned for it, but many others constantly ask about guards, extraction and the like. 


Paul Finlay01/05/2008 23:18:00
285 forum posts


I couldn't agree more with what you said and I have found myself in similar situations over the years. I wear glasses and one day I was summoned by a safety officer and told to wear goggles when using the nail gun, I find it very uncomfortable and more importantly very hard to see with them over my glasses. He wouldn't listen to reason and the foreman even got the firm to buy me prescription safety glasses from ( worth a look if you wear glasses ) but he still wasn't happy even though they conformed to all the necessary standards. Thankfully he got the boot after a couple of weeks.

One way to improve H&S officers would be to only give these jobs to experienced time spent tradesman.

What do you think that idea?

Geoff Ryan02/05/2008 00:07:00
12 forum posts
4 photos

Thanks for your response Mike - I will have a look through the old threads.

I agree with Paul about using experienced tradesmen but unfortunately they are a rare and valuable commodity. One of the problems I often come across is that Site Safety Officers are rarely given any freedom to make sensible interpretations and end up just following any written or verbal guidance they have been given. Management need to employ the right standard of safety staff and empower them to make judgments on how compliance with the law can best be achieved - I totally agree that the "one size fits all" mentality gives H&S a bad name.

Delete02/05/2008 02:23:00
575 forum posts

It is such a shame that legislation has had to be made for what is nothing more that good practice and common sense. This has all been brought pn by the minority, a few fools and bad Employers.

Ones safety always was and as far as I can see still is ones own responsibility.  The big differance today if you consider something as dangerous then you have the Law behind you when you refuse to do something.

This is true to the extent that if you are sacked and you have not been working for the company fpr 24 months, you can go to trubunal for exerting your rights under H&S. That appears to be ont bit of the leglisation not many know about.

Olly Parry-Jones02/05/2008 21:20:00
2776 forum posts
636 photos

Paul, many thanks for the link of perscription safety glasses. I'm getting tired of wearing and cleaning contact lenses at work/wherever and the prices on this site look pretty resonable. I bought a pair of over-specs from Axminster recently (can't remember the make but they were blue-rimmed) and I've been very pleased with them. Best part is that they're adjustable, unlike most of the cheap crap any company will supply you with. 

It's interesting that you HAVE to wear this kind of stuff on-site, otherwise they'll shut it down or remove you. But, when you're in the workshop, the company's duty is only to supply - and it's up to you whether or not you actually wear it. I guess there are far more deaths on site than there are in the average production workshop...

I received the latest issue of Good Wood yesterday, and what's that old Jeff Gorman's doing on page 17...? Why, he's using the palm of his hand (well, "base of the thumb", he says) to force a chisel!

George Arnold02/05/2008 21:55:00
1834 forum posts
191 photos


 I to received my copy to day , is it a coincidence that the smart and very well organised workshop fellow has the same enitials as yourself ?  There don't seem to be many H&S problems if that the case, of course the problem comes when you pick up the tools to use them We have all seen the results of people removing guards, afriend of mine has all his fingers missing on one hand from an accident with a guillotine, I met a butcher who had put his hand in a power mincer, he said it would not have been so bad but he was always getting on to his staff to use the block provided to push the meat down, accidents only take a moment but last a life time.


Olly Parry-Jones02/05/2008 22:02:00
2776 forum posts
636 photos

You might just be on to something there, George!

There are some frightening guillotine's about, now that you mention it. The foot-operated ones are the worst I've seen, where you're almost off-balance trying to operated the pedal with one foot, hold the timber carefully in place with one hand and watch out for that giant blade dropping down with incredible force!

Doug02/05/2008 22:42:00
3415 forum posts
35 photos

I did some work for a H&S man, he said the saddest thing about his job was that most of the people he met, after they had had their accidents, could tell him what they were doing wrong when the accident happened.

We know we shouldn`t do, it but we still do it ??????????????


Paul Finlay02/05/2008 22:53:00
285 forum posts


I'm glad you find that link helpfull, I use mine all the time in the workshop now and I think they are great, your eyes shouldn't be taken for granted and to steal a phrase form the great Norm ! There is no more important safety rule than to wear these safety glasses !.

I had confronted one of my guys several times last year about using push sticks on the table saw, I told him if I seen him using the saw again without one I would sack him. I cought him a final time cutting 3/4" strips of vennered ply with the blade at full height and passing his fingers by the blade. I sacked him and he took me to the labour court and got compensated six weeks wages because he didn't get a written warning. So altough I think like Mike that H&S officers are full of bureaucratic and illogical nonsense, I do feel that the employers are just afraid of being sewed.

And those adds on the tv dont help ( ! I was given the wrong type of ladder and crushed my hand when I fell so I got £5000 compensation ! ) Yes and he's about as bright as a 2watt candle. The people behind those adds should be hung by their balls.

Mike Garnham02/05/2008 23:00:00
4114 forum posts
1 photos

I bought a retractable tape measure a few months back, and included in the instructions was the requirement to wear eye protection when using it!!!!!!!!!  I struggled to think of how you might injure your eyes, even if you tried really hard, using a tape measure.

It is everyday nonsense like that that gives H&S the reputation it has.....


Woodworker03/05/2008 01:26:00
1745 forum posts
1 photos
74 articles
Like the bag of peanuts Mike, with the 'warning, this product may contain nuts!!'
Robbie03/05/2008 07:50:00
129 forum posts
34 photos


It's like Paul said if you don't cover your ass your just likely to get sued!


We got sued once when a guy walked off site for being questioned about the amount of work he had produced, apparently he claimed the foreman was being aggressive he was compensated £2500!

Seems like the law sometimes protects the stupid and the bone idle!


All Topics | Latest Posts

Please login to post a reply.

Magazine Locator

Want the latest issue of The Woodworker incorporating Good Woodworking? Use our magazine locator links to find your nearest stockist!

Find The Woodworker inc Good Woodworking 

Latest Forum Posts
Support Our Partners
Wood Workers Workshop
Transwave 2017
Felder UK April 2016
D B Keighley
Turners Tool Box
D&M Tools
Tool Post
Subscription Offers

Subscribe to<br />    The Woodworker Magazine and receive a FREE gift

Contact Us

We're always happy to hear from you, so feel free to get in touch!

Click here to find who to contact