We've received conflicting reader comments about Building's health and safety blunders series, so we thought we'd put the question to a vote...
The safety blunder photographs, such as the one here, published in Building magazine or the website are sent in by readers who happen to catch people in the act of breaching health and safety rules. Earlier this month we received a letter from David Westwood complaining about our method of showcasing poor practice. This is what he said:
I’m fed up with seeing emails and articles showing images of idiotic and dangerous situations, like the health and safety blunder on page 33 of the 25 September issue
Shouldn’t Building be taking health and safety more seriously, even if the photographer doesn’t? The guy on the roof is endangering his life. If you discovered that he has now been killed in an accident will you feel any responsibility?
Instead of calling him “a sardine”, why not investigate who hired a cherry picker to that address on that date and report the matter to the Health and Safety Executive? In fact, why not zoom in to the picture and see which company’s name is on the back of his T-shirt?
I’ve just noticed that you even pay £25 for the best photo. Disgraceful. You should be ashamed of yourselves!
David Westwood, managing director, Westwood Construction Services
Then two weeks later we received another letter from Charles Johnston defending our approach:
Learn through laughter
I was thoroughly enjoying your 9 October publication until I wandered across David Westwood’s email regarding your health and safety blunders (page 27), which sent me into fits of laughter and disbelief
Most employers and employees in the UK construction industry take health and safety seriously. One of the best ways to communicate directives is to use examples demonstrating what not to do!
It is a known fact that humour and fun are extremely useful learning tools. Where is the harm in showcasing examples of poor safety practice for all to see and learn from?
Please do not pander to one person’s extreme “minority opinion” at the expense of the majority of readers who are reasonable, sensible and know this feature is light-hearted and informative. This is a clear case of the minority out to ruin it for the rest.
Click here to read the full versions of these letters.
These are by no means the only comments we have received on the series, but they do seem to represent the two sides of the debate. So who do you think is right? Have your say in our reader poll on the right of this page.