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Agentgonzo
There's no pee in catheter!
Thu 26th Jun '08 3:45PM
811 Posts
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Member Since
8th Aug '06
BAE has just banned driving and talking on a hands-free kit whilst on company time:

"The Department for Transport have advised that a driver may risk prosecution for failing to have proper control of a vehicle if the driver uses a hands free phone while driving.

Therefore, after due consideration the Insyte policy for the use of mobile phones while driving on Company business has been revised as follows:

Mobile phones must not be used, whether hand held or hands free, under any circumstances whilst driving on Company Business.

This includes:

The use of integrated hands free systems;
The use of wireless headsets.
The business will no longer approve the fitting of hands free car kits and Company car users should no longer request any hands free options when ordering a replacement vehicle.

If a driver needs to use their mobile phone while in transit, they must ensure that the vehicle is parked in a safe location with the engine switched off and the keys removed from the ignition.

Passengers are permitted to use mobile phones when travelling in a vehicle.

PLEASE NOTE: This policy is mandatory and effective immediately. "

***********
Head of SHE/Security"



This just pisses me off. Driving with a hands-free kit is no more dangerous than talking to a passenger and adjusting the radio. I've now emailed the head of H&S to ask whether they are to be banned too. I don't expect to get a response. One post on our internal forums made a very good point:

"It was pointed out on a programme the other day thet, whilst a lot of the Health and Safety Regs do seem to be (and often are) a bit OTT, the real culprit is often companies and local authorities that find it easier to 'err' on the side of ultra-caution instead of actually finding out the actual extent of a rule, because it's easier to say "No because of H&S" than investigate whether the activity is a legitimate exception or not actually affected."
  

Malcolm*
My ape goosed a Bishop. Who are you?
Thu 26th Jun '08 4:06PM
1673 Posts
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3rd Jun '03
I don't think it's true to say that using a mobile hands-free kit is exactly as safe/dangerous as talking to someone else in the car; one of the problems with a conversation with someone who isn't present is that they can't see your surroundings, your posture or the road, so they don't go quiet when you need to concentrate.

It's a fair point, though, that there doesn't seem to be a consistent appraisal of exactly how dangerous different behaviours are, so we end up with all sorts of regulations that make no logical sense when taken as a whole. I suppose the relative effects of different legal and illegal drugs could be an example. And, as you say, Gonzo, the massive range of other things that aren't banned while driving, like fiddling with an MP3 player etc. (In a sense they are, actually, because driving without due care and attention is still illegal, but I think the point still stands when we're talking about specific practices being ruled out by employers.)

Interestingly, there's now quite a backlash against certain excesses of health and safety among the nursery, childcare and playworker community - there's a pretty strong case being made that children's lives are being significantly disadvantaged compared with those of the last generation, because they're not allowed the same kinds of opportunity for discovery, play and risk-taking.
   

Agentgonzo
There's no pee in catheter!
Thu 26th Jun '08 4:41PM
811 Posts
Agentgonzo's Avatar
Member Since
8th Aug '06


Malcolm was bold enough to comment:
Interestingly, there's now quite a backlash against certain excesses of health and safety among the nursery, childcare and playworker community - there's a pretty strong case being made that children's lives are being significantly disadvantaged compared with those of the last generation, because they're not allowed the same kinds of opportunity for discovery, play and risk-taking.


I didn't know that (about the backlash), but can see that kids are missing out. If not just for the things that they can no longer do, but also because trying something out for yourself and failing is a very good way to learn. If we never let kids play on a climbing frame because they might fall and hurt themselves, then they won't learn what their bodies are not capable of doing for later life. etc etc
  

Demian*
Oh Lordy, Plegaleggole
Fri 27th Jun '08 1:43PM
4678 Posts
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7th Apr '03
I think they're on very dodgy ground insisting that your engine is turned off. What business is that of your employers if you aren't breaking any laws?

There are a lot of new laws which criminalize behaviour which might lead to breaking the law (e.g. carrying open alcohol containers), along with a increase in the number of circumstantial offenses that are now illegal (for example: the police used to have to prove that you broke the speed limit by direct observational / measured evidence. Now they can use distance times and length to calculate an average speed and arrest you for a crime they surmise you must therefore have commited without being able to prove it - for all they know my car could have passed through a wormhole. Unlikely, true, but that doesn't mean you should be prosecuted based on indirect evidence. Ever heard of the Guildford Four?).

Having said all of the above, I'm not a car user, just a supporter of (lamenter for?) human liberties as an abstract ideal.

11 years of Labour Government: Over 4,500 new things now illegal!

Know your rights:
http://www.yourrights.org.uk/

If you want to help fight human rights abuses, Amnesty International is a good place to start:
http://www.amnesty.org.uk/content.asp?CategoryID=10893

BUSTED: The citizen's guide to surviving police encounters:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yqMjMPlXzdA
(mainly aimed at the US but a lot of important info which applies here too).
  

Spanners*
Misses his big brother :(
Mon 7th Jul '08 8:40AM
4597 Posts
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7th Apr '03
Having just spent the weekend in Birmingham and enjoyed the pleasure of several ****head van drivers tailgating me whist talking on mobile phones I'm finding myself well on the side of caution when it comes to driving. I agree that the 'engine off and keys out of the ignition' thing is a little extreme but driving a car is effectively piloting a missile with the potential of causing some fairly major carnage if you don't focus sufficiently. OK I can accept that talking on a hands free kit is comparable to talking to a passenger whist adjusting the radio but I would say they both need to be done with caution and not at difficult or busy sections of road. People die all over the world for the sake of others wanting to call the office or change radio station. It needs to stop.
    

General*
Windows Bob - the best!
Mon 7th Jul '08 3:14PM
4213 Posts
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Member Since
7th Apr '03
I have to deal with H&S stuff at work for projects.

Most of it is actually fairly simple and logical. The H&S at work act essentially says you have a duty not to kill or injure people who work for you so before you ask them to do anything you should have a think if it is dangerous (Risk Assessment) if it is dangerous think about a way to do it that isn't dangerous (Mitigation) and if it can't be avoided give staff proper training and protective equipment.
If you have an accident you have to tell the HSE who will then want proof that you did the above things which is why you need documentation to that effect. If it turns out you gave the new guy a chainsaw and no training he got his head cut off then you quite rightly get taken to the cleaners.

Most of the stuff you hear about in the paper is based on stupid people who are so desperate to cover their backs that they make stupid rules like the one that has been inflicted on you.

There is somewhere on the HSE website where they write rebuttals to some of the more ludicrous stories.
    

Malcolm*
My ape goosed a Bishop. Who are you?
Mon 7th Jul '08 3:21PM
1673 Posts
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3rd Jun '03
General, that HSE myth-busting website is fantastic! It's called "Myth of the Month" - http://www.hse.gov.uk/myth/index.htm

I'm always a big fan of such sites/books (snopes.com, The Skeptic's Dictionary, etc), but this was a new one to me. I'm impressed that the HSE have decided to put some time into this, as getting people's perceptions into line with what's real must surely be an important step in getting people on side with what they're trying to do.

Incidentally, a column in last week's Children & Young People Now (yes, I know, not the most riveting of publications) referred to a recent trend of "nanny statism-ism - an obsession with banging on about the nanny state."
   

General*
Windows Bob - the best!
Mon 7th Jul '08 3:29PM
4213 Posts
General's Avatar
Member Since
7th Apr '03


Malcolm was bold enough to comment:

Incidentally, a column in last week's Children & Young People Now (yes, I know, not the most riveting of publications) referred to a recent trend of "nanny statism-ism - an obsession with banging on about the nanny state."



Don't get me started on that. I hate the way that these terms become a catch all place holder that can be used to indicate that something is bad.

"Nanny State" hasn't quite got to the irritating state that "Binge Drinking" has got to yet.
It makes me quite irrationally cross when an article says something like "15% of people binge drink every day" If they do it every day it isn't binge drinking damn it!
    

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