warns chemical engineering Chief. Dr David Brown, Chief Executive at the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) says that lives are being put at risk by 'jobsworths and killjoys' who hide behind health and safety legislation.
Speaking at IChemE's Hazards XX conference in Manchester last week, Brown said this misguided approach could result in health and safety professionals who highlight real hazards being dismissed as 'crying wolf' and added that repeated misrepresentation of Health and Safety rules encourages 'jobsworths and killjoys'.
Citing examples including the banning of Christmas lights and practical science in school classrooms, Brown called on engineers to fight back against nonsensical interpretations of 'Health and Safety' law and insisted that safety management must be based on an understanding of real risks – not trivia
“Should the misreading of Health and Safety law continue, there is a 'real danger' that when a genuine hazard arises, those who draw attention to it will be ignored, putting lives at risk as a result,” said Brown.
“Engineers should protest loud, long and often against the abuse of health and safety by the jobsworth and the killjoy. The profession must reclaim balanced and rational safety management, based on engineering common sense.”
Brown highlighted the role of chemical engineers as professionals with the skills to interpret safety legislation with common sense and stressed that it was not the regulators or legislators who should be blamed, rather the people who repeatedly use the mantra 'health and safety says No!' as an excuse.
Over 300 international chemical engineers and safety experts attended the Hazards XX conference in Manchester, UK, a biennial event organised by the Institution's UK north-west member group. For more information visit www.icheme.org/hazardsxx
About chemical engineers
Chemical, biochemical and process engineering is the application of science, maths and economics to the process of turning raw materials into everyday products. Professional chemical engineers design, construct and manage process operations all over the world. Pharmaceuticals, food and drink, synthetic fibres and clean drinking water are just some of the products where chemical engineering plays a central role.
IChemE (Institution of Chemical Engineers) is the hub for chemical, biochemical and process engineering professionals worldwide. With a global membership of some 27,000, the Institution is at the heart of the process community, promoting competence and a commitment to best practice, advancing the discipline for the benefit of society, encouraging young people in science and engineering and supporting the professional development of its members. For more information, visit www.icheme.org