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The lack of Health & Safety in Spain

By Jo Green - Sat 31st Jul 2010

Now, I’m normally one of the first to mock the nanny state in the UK, and how health and safety regulations seem to have gone crazy lately. Almost every task requires some kind of risk assessment, and every new starter in a job requires advanced training on how to tie their shoe laces etc... incase they stub their toe and try and sue their employer for millions. I partly blame the crappy daytime TV adverts ... “Have you had an accident at work that wasn’t your fault ? ...”

But it seems that on this matter Spain is so far round the other side of the spectrum that it is beyond all rational comprehension.

Just this last week alone I encountered a few ‘incidents’ that would have given the UK’s Health and Safety Executive a coronary :

1) On Monday, as I was driving to drop my daughter of at nursery I turned a blind corner to find an old guy, who must have been 75 at the youngest, cleaning his third story windows on a rickety pair of wooden ladders. The ladders were almost halfway into the middle of the road, and he had put his dining room chair in the middle of the road, with a luminous yellow vest draped over it as a warning. Not only was this on a tight corner in the middle of rush hour, but the morning sun was glaring straight into my eyes – god alone knows how I managed to miss him.

2) On Wednesday, I had to do a double-take when I saw two guys cycling down the main road behind each other and carrying a 20 foot ladder between them.

3) On Thursday morning (rush hour yet again) the road was held up in both directions whilst a JCB was attempting to manoeuvre around a hole it had just dug Usually there would have been 2 guys with a pointy stick - 1 for either side of the road works, however the second guy must have been on a tea- break or something, so Sr Pointy-Stick was trying to direct both sides on his own. Temporary Traffic lights? Nah - they’ll never catch on.

4) On Friday morning as I pulled into the Supermarket car park, an old guy was leaving on his moped. Along with his wife, his grandson, his dog and a 25 Kilo sack of potatoes.

5) Later on Friday as I collected my daughter from nursery, there were 2 cars double-parked on the zebra crossing. Senor Policia local (Glorified traffic warden) although tasked specifically with guarding the crossing at Nursery ‘home time’ didn’t seem to think that it was too much of an issue. (Why put him there at all if he’s not going to do anything about it? – and why the gun – is it to shoot any unruly kids who dare to cross the street without using the crossing?)

As much as I love to mock the health and safety do-gooders in the UK,I think that I am in grave danger of becoming that moaning old woman who wags a disapproving finger at almost everything....

Comment on this Blog

Sooo true ... you forgot to mention that the biggest festival of the year involves people sitting on floats, dressed as the 3 kings, driving through the streets , lobbing hard boiled sweets at children. How little hands are not squashed as they push each other to get the sweets from under the moving wheels remains a mystery. We do LOVE the Spanish way of life though : )
Lisa Sadleir - Sun, 9th Jan 2011

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