Last night More4 aired their latest documentary: ‘The Fun Police’. The programme followed a number of Health & Safety officers on their daily routines. Although the essence of the documentary was light-hearted entertainment, dryly mocking the characters being filmed, in truth it exposed serious inefficiencies and losses caused by health and safety regulation.
One scene showed an officer going to a small, independent workshop. He walked in and after a short inspection declared that the manager would have to stop using two large cutting machines –if he refused, he was threatended with prosecution. The look of shock and disbelief on the owners face was in stark contrast to the lack of regard and respect the Health & Safety official showed towards his business and employees. Small firms are facing tough times. By enforcing such regulation so stringently, the government isn't helping.
The Fun Police also showed the excessive resources the government wastes on regulation such as health and safety. At one point, an H&S officer wanted to know what glues were used in a local nail parlours (as some glues have been banned in the US), despite the glues still being legal in the UK. She entered one parlour loudly declaring that she was a H&S officer in front of numerous customers. When she was greeted with a less-than-impressed manager she began to threaten him with a legal action – all this was unnecessary and totally at the cost to the taxpayer.
The absurdity of it all was illustrated perfectly by a traditional village donkey show where children could no longer ride the donkeys; instead, the children were replaced with inflatable toys – all in the name of regulation. Increasingly, it is clear that government seems hell-bent on restricting both our businesses and our fun.