Saturday, 4 August 2007

Bath Towels and Blithering Idiots

Just when you think you've plumbed the murky depths of Health and Safety lunacy, you realise that you haven't even scratched the surface of this festering make-work blight on society.

Today, several newspapers, including the Sun and the Daily Mail, have featured an astonishing piece of research from the Health and Safety Executive. Not, I hasten to add, astonishing in terms of the results it has produced, which are, apparently, inconclusive.

No, the sheer amazement comes from the fact that it has taken place at all. It seems that the HSE bods have spent several months and £12,000 researching bath towels, and have produced an official report to prove it. The report, called "Role of Towels as a Control to Reduce Slip Potential" - catchy title, eh? - explains how these terminally under worked researchers tried out towels on various surfaces, both wet and dry, to see how easy it was to make them slip. Or, to put it another way, they were examining the friction between the towel and the floor, in an effort to determine whether wet or dry towels slip more easily on each kind of surface.

Friction? More like fiction, except you just couldn't make this kind of nonsense up. If ever there was proof that the Health and Safety Executive spends its time (and our money) on utterly useless interventions into every-day life, this report is it. But it gets better. The report, they say, is inconclusive, and more research is needed. For which they want another £12k and year in which to conduct their study.

Clearly, these folks have too much time on their hands, and far too much tax-payers' money to waste. Far from letting them spend more time and money on research that anyone with any common sense whatsoever could explain to them in roughly 45 seconds (if they're a slow talker), they should all be forced to get a real job. Or, failing that, they should be forced to pay for research into how many people think they're a bunch of skivers with less grip on the needs of society than a dry towel has on a dry floor - and yes, that was one of the permutations they tested.

Billy Seggars.

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