Telegraph & Mail caught on snow ‘elf & safety’


10:27 am - January 12th 2010

by Sunny Hundal    


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This weekend both the Mail on Sunday and Sunday Telegraph reported that ‘health and safety’ experts had warned people that clearing snow from paths outside their homes could get them sued.

The Mail on Sunday reported:

….the professional body that represents health-and-safety experts has warned businesses not to grit public paths. In its guidance to members, the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health warns that if people assume an area is clear and then slip and injure themselves, they could take legal action claiming damages.

The Sunday Telegraph stated:

Heavy snow, low temperatures and a lack of gritting mean pavements throughout the country are too slippery to walk on safely. Hospitals have been struggling to cope with rising numbers of patients who have broken bones after falling on icy paths.

Yet the professional body that represents health and safety experts has issued a warning to businesses not to grit public paths – despite the fact that Britain is in the grip of its coldest winter for nearly half a century.

But the body in question – ISOH – issued a press release yesterday stating that it had been misrepresented in the media and called the reports ‘irresponsible’.

… the IOSH position is to encourage businesses to be a good employer and neighbour by gritting beyond property boundaries and to make sure that the task is carried out thoroughly.

This comment was ignored by The Sunday Telegraph and the wording from the Croner article used instead and attributed to IOSH. This was done without the knowledge of the IOSH Media team, with no follow up check being made.

The Croner article quote, which they say the Sunday Telegraph used instead, was a contribution to the ‘Just Ask’ column of SHP magazine, in February of last year. They added this was not the IOSH position on gritting public areas.

IOSH communications director Ruth Doyle said she was dismayed by the Telegraph’s approach:

To lift this wording from an outside contribution to SHP magazine, published nearly a year ago, and pass it off as ‘IOSH guidance’ is completely irresponsible.

“The IOSH position is most definitely to encourage people to be good employers and neighbours by gritting icy areas and to emphasise that health and safety wants to help protect life and limb, not endanger it.

In other words, right-wing newspapers ignored the correct guidelines regarding public path clearing just to have a pop at ‘elf and safety’ experts.

You couldn’t make it up.

[via Mark Pack at LibdemVoice]

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


I KNEW IT!!!

Sometimes you just have to look at a headline to know it’s bollocks

Sometimes you just have to look at the masthead

The mail are still running some pile of shite about it today. naturally there are 252 comments most of whom saying “‘elf ‘n’ safety” gorrrrn maaaaadddd!!! Even if the mail put the ISOH clarification up, the damage has already been done. Cunts.

So, are these quotes from the Sunday Telegraph article invented (linked to your blog)?

QUOTE

In guidance to its members, who advise businesses through­out the country, it said: “When clearing snow and ice, it is probably worth stopping at the boundaries of the property under your control.”

Clearing a public path “can lead to an action for damages against the company, e.g. if members of the public, assuming that the area is still clear of ice and thus safe to walk on, slip and injure themselves”.

Legal experts said home owners could fall victim to the same laws if they tried to clear an icy path but failed to do the job properly. John McQuater, president of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers, admitted: “If you do nothing you cannot be liable. If you do something, you could be liable to a legal action.”

UNQUOTE

Or is Elf-n-Safety now engaged in damage limitation after their idiotic guidelines?

@chestnut

As I understand it:

1) The Mail curtailed the quote from Mr McQuarter, which altered the caveats he put on this statement

2) The key words in the quote is “could” which is missing the rider “but it is unlikely”. Too much risk aversity methinks. I mean, I could be hit by a bus if I stepped outside my house. I could be blown up by a terrorist if I use a plane. But they are unlikely and should be risks I am willing to take if I took a rational cost/benefit view, particularly if in this case I can control the outcome by being competent in how I clear the snow

Well said. It’s reports like this that stop people helping their neighbours not health and safety.

Strategist@2:

Spot on.

maybe someone who slips and falls on an uncleared footpath should sue the newspapers for encouraging people to do nothing? Would be sweet, sweet irony, though unlikely to succeed.

I thought it was an established rule of reading journalistic output that if journalists say something is banned by health and safety (which is almost always some anonymous organisation – it’s a step up to have a named source, even if it is misquoted) then at worst someone somewhere has suggested a bit of caution in e.g. playing russian roulette.

Downside of this is that I now have no excuse for not clearing the snow in front of my house…


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    :: Telegraph & Mail 'irresponsible' on snow 'elf & safety' http://bit.ly/6kGa4q

  2. Sam the Drummer

    #dailyfail #torygraph RT @libcon: :: Telegraph & Mail 'irresponsible' on snow 'elf & safety' http://bit.ly/6kGa4q

  3. Stuart Harrison

    RT @libcon: :: Telegraph & Mail 'irresponsible' on snow 'elf & safety' http://bit.ly/6kGa4q

  4. sunny hundal

    Telegraph & Mail 'irresponsible' for claiming snow path clearing not allowed over 'elf & safety': http://bit.ly/6kGa4q

  5. Peter McColl

    RT H&S experts say shovelling snow will get you sued? You couldn't make it up!? Turns out someone did: http://bit.ly/6kGa4q via @garydunion

  6. Rezina

    RT @pickledpolitics: Telegraph & Mail 'irresponsible' for claiming snow path clearing not allowed over 'elf & safety': http://bit.ly/6kGa4q

  7. Allen Green

    RT @pickledpolitics: Telegraph & Mail 'irresponsible' for claiming snow path clearing not allowed over 'elf & safety': http://bit.ly/6kGa4q

  8. Warren H

    RT @RezinaChowdhury @pickledpolitics: Papers irresponsible for saying path clearing not allowed: http://bit.ly/6kGa4q #behaviourchange

  9. Robyn Bryan

    RT @libcon: :: Telegraph & Mail 'irresponsible' on snow 'elf & safety' http://bit.ly/6kGa4q

  10. Left Outside

    RT @libcon Telegraph & Mail ‘irresponsible’ on snow ‘elf & safety’ http://bit.ly/8kXUtp

  11. Richard George

    What the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health *actually* said about the public gritting pavements http://bit.ly/6kGa4q

  12. ciphergoth

    "Health and safety gone mad" story turns out to be rubbish, again http://j.mp/6kGa4q what IOHS really said about grit

  13. Blue_Cat

    RT @ciphergoth: "Health and safety gone mad" story turns out to be rubbish, again http://j.mp/6kGa4q what IOHS really said about grit

  14. Dr Scott Davidson

    Liberal Conspiracy » Telegraph & Mail caught out on snow ‘elf & safety’ http://j.mp/6kGa4q

  15. Gary Dunion

    .@richardm56 H&S experts say shovelling snow will get you sued? You couldn't make it up!? Turns out someone did: http://bit.ly/6kGa4q

  16. Richard Jones

    It's this sort sort of tripe from the media that really gets to me http://bit.ly/7WogBV

  17. links for 2010-01-13 | Cosmos

    […] Telegraph & Mail ‘irresponsible’ on snow ‘elf & safety’ In other words, right-wing newspapers ignored the correct guidelines regarding public path clearing just to have a pop at ‘elf and safety’ experts. (tags: uk politics) […]





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