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Playing It Safe [see new edition]: The Crazy World of Britain's Health and Safety Regulations [Hardcover]

Alan Pearce
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
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Book Description

4 Sep 2007
Journalist Alan Pearce collects hilarious (all true, unfortunately) examples of Health and Safety gone mad from UK newspapers and websites that will make you cringe while crying with laughter.
* The author who was banned from selling his book in case it caused paper cuts.
* The swings removed from a playground in case children were blinded by the sun while playing on them.
* An international cycle race banned after worries about urinating cyclists.
* The risk assessment needed before a local village hall could sell mince pies.

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Playing It Safe [see new edition]: The Crazy World of Britain's Health and Safety Regulations + It's Health and Safety Gone Mad!: 1001 Crazy 'Safety Crimes'
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Friday Project; First Edition edition (4 Sep 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1905548850
  • ISBN-13: 978-1905548859
  • Product Dimensions: 20 x 13.8 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 480,565 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Authors

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Product Description


'Reveals the extent of our health and safety lunacy.' News of the World --1<br /><br />'Very entertaining.' Jeffrey Podger, chief executive Health & Safety Executive --2

'Very entertaining.' Jeffrey Podger, chief executive Health & Safety Executive --2 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

London born Alan Pearce has worked as a journalist, broadcaster and author for thirty years. He covered conflicts around and was seriously injured covering the Taliban takeover of Kabul in 1996 while working as the BBC Afghanistan correspondent. He is married and lives in France.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Don't drink the water and don't breathe the air! 18 Feb 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
'Playing It Safe' is a collection of nearly 250 short press clippings compiled by journalist Alan Pearce. They paint a rather unflattering portrait of 'bureaucratic Britain' which may have you holding your sides with laughter, or your head in your hands with despair, according to your sense of humour (and, possibly, your age).

The cuttings have been gathered between 2000-2007 and come from a wide variety of sources . There's a good mix of articles from local and national tabloids and broadsheets and even some tales from Auntie Beeb herself. They are presented in one long stream, with no chapter breaks or any other headings. Without any natural pauses in the text, it's quite easy just to plough through the lot in one sitting, as I did. In spite of the cartoon image on the front cover, there are no other illustrations in the book.

The stories range widely in terms of subject matter. Ladders, conkers and Christmas decorations all feature heavily. Health and Safety Officers from local authorities are oft quoted. The town council of Bury St Edmunds is mentioned on more than one occasion! Overall, I didn't find the collection quite as side-splitting as some other reviewers did, but the story of Shenkin the goat's unfortunate incident at the Welsh Assembly in Cardiff did cause a tear of mirth (no animals are harmed in the incident, before you ask). Another personal highlight was the tale of the shopping centre Santa who had to be given a hard hat after local kids threw mince pies at him.

Even in some of the more mundane accounts, there are some great quotes to be found. When Paul Hudson found that he could no longer take his pet iguana into the Metrocentre in Gateshead, his response was not entirely reassuring: "He is a nice animal.
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102 of 128 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars tired old myths re-run 23 Nov 2007
The book description claims this is "hilarious (all true, unfortunately) examples of Health and Safety gone mad." Well all it is is a trawl though the usual array of un-corroberated stories that have appreared in local papers and a few dubious websites. As a result it perpetuates myths like trapeze artists have been told to wear hard hats because the Daily Telegraph once reported that. This is despite the acceptance that this story is totally made up. In fact many of the stories are like this. Most of the others are actually nothing about health and safety simply about officials misunderstanding food hygience rules etc. I went through it looking for the promised stories of "health and safety gone mad" and all I found was a mixture of pretty boring press articles about people complaining about not being able to do something and then blaming "health and safty". Where are the stories of the Health and Safety Executive cracking down on all these poor employers for not having the right first aid box or whatever. They simply are not there. Why? Well perhaps it is because we do not live in a risk-averse society. If we did we would not have 2.2 million people suffering from an illness they believed was caused or made worse by their work.
Nor do we have a "compensation culture" The book contains statements like how, after 1998 when the government introduced "no win - no fee" arrangements, "the floodgates opened". I am not sure how this squares with the steep fall in compensation claims in recent years, or the fact that 9 out of every 10 workers injured at work do not receive anything.
I guess this book will suit those who like their preconceptions pandered to and are not too concerned about accuracy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 5 July 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
excellent speedy download
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4.0 out of 5 stars Eye opening 26 Feb 2014
By mmmppph
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Some of these stories are incredible. But all too believable in todays health and safety mad society. Worth a look.
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Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Amusing collection of tales about bureaucracy gone mad. Slightly tedious towards the end as most of the stories are the same. A great light hearted read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Can you really believe these stories? 4 Oct 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Taking risk assessments is wise and sensible. But some results of "Health and Safety" regulations take all the fun out of life. If we do not take risks, we shall never achieve anything. Depending on what we are doing, those risks may be physical. Here are some of the almost unbelievable ones. Personally, I am waiting for football to be either played with a soft ball or for players to be required to wear helmets. And, of course, my local Sailing Club to sail on dry land: it avoids the risk of drowning!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Health & Safety? - Good Grief!" 31 July 2013
By Rabsuds
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Having dealt with Health & Safety authorities from a managerial position, I found this book to be very, very amusing and illustrative of some of the sillier things with which industry is now beset.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Some good some bad 7 July 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Amusing collection of articles but sadly too many of them either aren't that daft or lack enough information to really understand. That said it is worth reading through to see how far some 'health and safety' madness has now gone.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Amusing
A great e-book to dip into containing a wealth of amusing Health and Safety tales showing how ridiculous a bureaucracy grew up with the Blair government.
Published 15 months ago by Tynesider
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
Just shows where the 'claims' culture has got the country, it's not Health & Safety, it is everyone being afraid of being sued.
Published 16 months ago by ScrumpyJack
4.0 out of 5 stars Good for a laugh - at the expense of 'elf & safe tea'
Read some of the ridiculous edicts from those who are charged with keeping us safe! Worth a few giggles anyway.
Published 16 months ago by JohnW
2.0 out of 5 stars I expected something hilarious
...God knows the subject lends itself to expectations of great fun. However, this is just a collection of newspaper reports/articles, most of which are just trying to be... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Bucsa Oana Maria
5.0 out of 5 stars Proof of a nanny state culture in the UK
Good and easy read an has something that everyone can relate with in every day experience. Just shows that personal responsibility is being eroded by brainless bureaucrats.
Published 16 months ago by A. M. Odonnell
5.0 out of 5 stars Britain gone mad
This book really opens your eyes to just how stupid health and safety laws have become is just getting to the point that getting out of bed in a morning will be deemed to dangerous
Published 16 months ago by Cowboydave
2.0 out of 5 stars Have we read this all before ?
I found the content of this book dull. I felt that we had read it all before and that it offered nothing constructive.
Published 17 months ago by para3drop
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