health and safety "again"

  carver 10:18 AM 18 May 12
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My wife has asked me to do a small job at her school, remove an outdoor drinking fountain and replace it with a water feature for the infants (5-7 year olds).

It seems that the drinking fountain can no longer be used because the new head is concerned about hygiene, so of I go to do the work.

So there I am at the school and the head teacher is asking me what tools I will be using for the work, I explain that I will use a blow torch, drill, electric screwdriver, chisel, saw in fact any tool I think I will need to do the job, which I am doing for free.

I am then told by the new head that I will need to have all electrical tools PAT tested and am I qualified to use a blow torch and electric saw, further more he wants me to do a risk assessment and hand it to him before I start work.

Any way to cut a long story short I'm not doing it, a job I could have done in a couple of hours would have turned into a nightmare and cost me money.

All because of this new head teachers interpretation of health and safety rules.

  woody 10:33 AM 18 May 12

It appears he prefers to pay someone who will not bat an eyelid at spending a day on paperwork listing "Male Bovine Waste Product" and charging the earth for it - but he can say he asked!! Doing a favor these days is going out of fashion.

  birdface 10:42 AM 18 May 12

I suppose for insurance claims he has to cover himself and the school for accidental damage.

It is crazy when you are willing to do it for free and now he will have to pay for a contractor to do it.

  Aitchbee 11:11 AM 18 May 12

I wonder if today's primary school children's toilets have "push button" hot hair hand dryers installed ...we (50 years ago) had communal towels on wooden rollers...two towels in one toilet was a luxury ;o]

  Aitchbee 11:13 AM 18 May 12

...one aitch too far 'air' hand dryers.

  spider9 11:24 AM 18 May 12

buteman is right, but you need also remember the Head is responsible for all the young children, and has to answer to their parents in the event of anything happening to them.

Suppose one of them was injured during the work (or afterwards!), then a recognised contractor would have the necessary insurance to cover.

It does seem a bit daft, but a reason can usually be found - and when young kids are involved.......

And, no disrespect to carver, but I've seen some 'helpful amateurs' really mess-up jobs and cost more eventually. I can imagine the Head worrying as you mention blowtorch, drill, electric saw etc!!

I'm now trying to work out the significance of the last poster's 'toilet' connection??

  Quickbeam 11:34 AM 18 May 12

"All because of this new head teachers interpretation of health and safety rules."

Interpretation itself is open to interpretation. Personally I would have interpreted the offer with some common sense. There is an element of risk in everything we do, and there seems an acceptable element of risk to in the job that you describe as a freeby. But that's what H&S paranoia does when you have no common sense.

The little PATS stickers makes me smile when someone at the local council decided that new out of the box chip & pin readers need one to be in use on the payments counter, but my bank doesn't consider it necessary for their card readers. My doctor's surgery has one on the waiting room radio, but my dentist doesn't consider that the TV in his waiting room does.

Different interpretations over a moot point cause confusion unless a law is passed that specifically say waiting room media players must or must not have the little PATS sticker.

Or we can accept that a considered risk assessment for a one off small job can consist of using on-the-spot common sense, and just getting on with it...

  carver 11:40 AM 18 May 12

spider9 I used to own a building firm so I don't think that I qualify as a 'helpful amateur' and half the rules he came out with do not exist.

In the past I have made all sort of things for them under the last head teacher and they are still going strong.

What concerns me is some of the things that he just ignores because they are part of the school fabric and will cost serious money to put right and it is money they do not have.

  Quickbeam 11:40 AM 18 May 12

And I assume that you have the common sense to not want to do the job during the lunchtime break when the playground is full of straying little fingers just waiting to be chopped off by your electric saw... even a PATS stick can't stop that happening:)

  spuds 11:41 AM 18 May 12

This is nothing new, because most heads of school's have to comply with current legislation, because their boss's (Education Department and Council) insist on it.

Many parent's are being accused of not wanting to become involved with certain school procedures nowadays, and in most cases its not the parent own fault.

Our local Primary school is having a Fete this Saturday morning, and a 16' x 3' fabric banner advertising the event was fixed to the outside wire fencing. Perhaps a very simple job for some, but due to a slight breezy session, it took four adults (teachers/classroom assistants?) about 20/30 minutes to fix the banner to the fencing. I wonder if a written assessment was conducted there, if so the job could have taken much longer. In my day, it would have taken a school caretaker a matter of minutes!.

A year or two ago, there was a documentary on television about some school's being transferred to the private sector, which included maintenance contract procedures. In the documentary, it soon became very evident, that 'supposed' legislation was benefiting some of these private companies, by the cost of maintenance considerations, due to the increase of procedures to do a simple job. In some cases it was taking far longer to consider a repair, that the cost had increased due to the repair becoming critical. But why worry, its only the public purse we are talking about and not someone else's out of pocket goodwill gesture?.

  Aitchbee 11:41 AM 18 May 12

I'm now trying to work out the significance of the last poster's 'toilet' connection??

It was just to illustrate the changes in perceived 'hygiene issues' that have 'progressed' over the years.

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