BBC London last night (still available but not for long) featured a small segment by Sarah Harris about a boat, placed on the roof of the Royal Festival Hall on the south bank, available for people to stay in overnight and enjoy unrivalled views of London.
“People on the South Bank were doing a double take as they looked up, but no, it really is what looks like a boat perched on the very edge of Queen Elizabeth Hall’s roof. Not only that but in a triumph over health & safety restrictions people can actually stay in it.”
She doesn’t qualify this comment, so I can only assume it’s another one if those lazy throwaway lines that the media love, to have a pop at the perceived excessive Health & Safety culture, which David Cameron is so keen to stamp out. Let’s have a think how this might be a “triumph over Health & Safety”.
This must mean that they’ve ignored any advice, law or building regulations that might be relevant to this situation, and that at *no point* during the planning has anyone done a risk assessment, putting guidelines in place to assure the safety of the occupants or passers-by.
Therefore this implies:
- The boat is unsecured or someone has judged it heavy enough that it probably won’t sway or topple over onto the pavement below.
- The roof weight limit has not been checked.
- Occupants access the roof and boat on their own, either by climbing the outside of the building, parachuting in, or unguided via maintenance areas.
- No additional lighting has been provided to guide them back to the inside of the building in the event of an emergency. In such an emergency, they’ll just have to take their chances as none of the nearby fire marshalls will check that area. The only emergency exit is to jump off the roof.
If the boat was constructed there, I can only wonder how it was put together e.g. who did the wiring and heating? If the boat was already built, how did it get up there? Jedi mind levitation? Using a crane would be cheating, as that would require a whole other set of considerations, including weight, stabilising the crane, rope strength, how it was lashed together.
Would you want to stay there?
The above points are what I would expect the Health & Safety officers involved to consider: looking at each situation as the plans were developed and implemented, based on their experience, established best practice, advice from the fire brigade and building engineers, using appropriate and certified equipment.
And that’s what we refer to as a culture of Health & Safety – is that so excessive? If this seems like common sense, can the media, press and politicians stop perpetuating those ridiculous myths and stop bashing at people trying to do their job? This is actually a triumph for all the Health & Safety people who’ve been involved in getting this to float.
I’m one of those people who’ve signed up to MyFootball Club. This hit the news headlines last week after it was announced that Ebbsfleet United were the team that had been taken over by a bunch of web geeks who want to be desktop Abramoviches (having played too much Championship Manager).
At least, that’s what’s being reported. I actually joined the venture in August, and along with many of the 20,000 that had already signed up before last Monday, have been debating the issues surrounding the whole project at length and in depth. It’s incredibly annoying that most of the reports on the TV, Radio and in the papers aren’t even reading the basic FAQ’s on the home page. Even if there were still questions, it’s not too hard to look at some of the blogs out there, or even claim the £35 on expenses and see what’s actually on the forums.
It’s incredibly disappointing, because rather than report what’s happening and what the project is about, they’re trying to derail it. This is a controversial venture, we’re quite aware of that, thanks, but we think it could work and Ebbsfleet are in agreement. There’s a lot of people who don’t like the way football has been taken away from its roots over the years, and that’s partly where this has come from. We happen to think it could work and are putting our mouths and money where our belief is. We’d just like to see both sides of the argument represented- are journalists no longer able to do that?
Here’s a good example of what they’re doing. Yesterday’s Observer has a particular twisted article, found here. “Cyber with Rosy? Fans Aren’t Sure”. Of course fans aren’t sure, you’re making MyFC out to be something it isn’t, just like you created panic at Northern Rock when there was none.
I’ll give you another angle to that same article – Jessica McQueen, of the supporters trust, was hassled by the Observer reporter to find someone who was anti-MyFC for a quote. She refused, and won’t give any more statements until the trust have met on Wednesday.
I never thought I’d hear myself saying it, but I much preferred the Daily Mail‘s attitude than the Observer’s. Here’s a nice quote from Manager/Head Coach Liam Daish:
‘Seriously, though, is it better to work for one tyrannical chairman, who acts on a whim, or 20,000 knowledgeable football fanatics?’
The 20,000+ decisions makers is another fundamental part of the concept that the press can’t seem to get their head round, and unable to read about it.
Even more fundamental than this is the fact that seems to be escaping almost everyone, including many of the new members: MyFootballClub have not bought Ebbsfleet United – they’re in due diligence phase of a 51% takeover. Members were certainly not logging on at half time during the Oxford game and making their selections – this is something which has been debated for months, a voting system which has never been seen before.
News used to be about the 6 W’s – Who, What, Where, When,Why and How. Now it’s all about WOAH! (thanks to Charlie Brooker for that one)