The blog’s old friend, Judith Hackitt, stirred up the media this week. She attacked the Wimbledon tennis authorities for stopping Centre Court TV broadcasts when the grass is wet, on ‘health and safety’ grounds.
Hackitt now runs the UK’s Health and Safety Executive. She is clearly fed up with this trivialisation of health and safety. As a former chemicals manufacturing manager, she knows that real risks come from badly-run major hazard plants, not people walking on wet grass.
The blog applauds her letter to the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA), below:
“I was particularly disappointed to discover that the LTA/AELTC chose to explain its decision to ban spectators from Murray Mount as being ‘on health and safety grounds’.
“There is nothing in health and safety legislation which prohibits the continued broadcasting of Centre Court action to the crowds on the hill during the rain.
“Health and safety is concerned with the proportionate management of real risks caused by work, not attempting to eliminate every minor risk from every moment of people’s lives.
“People have been walking up and down wet, grassy slopes for years without catastrophic consequences. If the LTA was concerned about people slipping and suing for their injuries, the message should have made clear the decision was ‘on insurance grounds’.
“Health and safety excuses are becoming as much a feature of the British sporting calendar as the rain. You will understand that, while we can do nothing about the weather, we will not let the excuses pass unchallenged.”
UPDATE: Hackitt’s letter clearly had an effect. The screen was operating Friday night for Murray’s match, even though it was raining.