11 absurd health and safety rules

July 19, 2014 at 4:22 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

1) When you fill your car with petrol [gasoline], notices on the pumps instruct you to turn off your mobile phone, as its radio transmitter or battery could start a deadly fire. Yet there has never been a single instance of mobile phones blowing up petrol stations, which is not surprising as to do so they would have to break the laws of physics.

2) Death by lactose

In the United States it is illegal, in the interests of safety, to sell Kinder Eggs and haggis but not, in much of the country, automatic assault rifles. In the US and Australia it can be very hard to get hold of unpasteurised cheese, and yet Australia’s most deadly outbreak of listeria was caused by pasteurised cheese, badly stored, which is the real issue with all kinds of cheese. In Japan restaurateurs are free to serve raw meat – even raw chicken – but hardly anyone gets food poisoning.

3) Stop that voyeur

Contrary to what you may have been told there are no laws or even official guidelines forbidding you from taking photographs of your child’s school play or football match. Despite this teachers and officials often quote child protection rules and even the Data Protection Act to justify such bans.

4) Hard hats on

When Australia’s states passed laws in the early 1990s making the wearing of bicycle helmets compulsory, rates of serious injuries among cyclists actually went up. No-one knows why but there is little evidence that making bike helmets compulsory leads to cycling becoming safer. The safest places to be a cyclist – countries such as The Netherlands and Denmark – are also the places where helmet-wearing is most uncommon. Israel scrapped its bike-helmet rules in the light of this evidence, as did Mexico City; in Australia, the laws are still in place.

5) Dial a crash

We have been told for two decades that using mobile phones and other ‘portable electronic devices’ on an aircraft could interfere with the plane’s avionics and communications systems. So it seems odd that we are able to take these potentially lethal machines on board at all (and not, say, nail clippers) and even odder to discover that it’s well known in the industry that on any given flight at least 20 passengers will have forgotten to turn their devices off. And there have been no crashes.

6) Frisky business

In 2008 traveller Brad Jayakody was stopped from boarding his flight at Heathrow Airport. The reason? He was wearing a T-shirt depicting one of the robots in the Transformers cartoons. And the robot was carrying a gun. And pilots have had their fountain pens confiscated – before boarding and taking control of a large aircraft and 30,000 gallons of fuel.

7) Millennium bugs

In 2011 a Cabinet Office report concluded that ‘cybercrime’ was costing the United Kingdom’s economy £27bn a year. In fact this suspiciously precise figure turns out to be dubious; for example, tax-evasion now counts as ‘cybercrime’ simply because tax returns are filed online rather than on paper forms. Because hardly anyone understands how computers work, still less the Internet, the world is happy to hand over vast wads of cash to unscrupulous consultants who apparently do. In the late 1990s IT consultants trousered several hundred billion dollars in the fight against the non-existent Y2K threat, aka the Millennium Bug. Serious money is now being spent countering often spurious ‘cyber threats’ that are often no more real than Y2K.

8) Runaway train

Transport security screening has extended beyond airports to railway stations and even buses. Security officers screen the baggage of Eurostar passengers travelling between London, France and Belgium and confiscate their pen knives and other items similarly banned from aircraft since 9/11. This is despite the fact that you cannot hijack a train – and despite the fact that vehicles using the Shuttle service which travels through the same tunnel are not searched.

9) Devices out

Is an iPad a laptop? What about a smartphone? What about all those new gadgets that are somewhere in between? In some airport security queues the answer is ‘yes’, in others ‘no’ and in many it depends on who is manning the x-ray machines. For security to be worth the cost and hassle, it has to be evidence-based, effective – and consistent. When rules don’t have a reason, though, consistency is hard to achieve.

10) A dog’s life

During nearly a century when Britain was subject to some of the strictest quarantine rules in the world, designed to keep the country rabies free, not a single cat or dog imported from Western Europe developed the disease when in quarantine. Even after effective vaccines against rabies were developed, people were still prevented from bringing their pets across the channel – and even highly trained rescue dogs, used to detect people buried under the rubble of earthquakes and other natural disasters, routinely fell foul of the unyielding quarantine rules, which were finally relaxed in February 2000 under the weight of contrary evidence in the hands of determined citizens.

11) Off the deep end

Many municipal swimming pools in Britain have strict rules about how many children an adult can take to the pool. In some, in the interests of safety, every child under eight must be accompanied by one adult, effectively ruling out trips by larger families unless several adults can be roped in to make up the numbers. The reason given for these safety rules is to reduce cases of drowning. They don’t reduce them though, because the cases don’t exist. In fact, the biggest single factor influencing the likelihood of drowning anywhere is an inability to swim and a lack of experience adjusting to sudden immersion in cold water, both things that can be countered by encouraging, not discouraging, trips to the public pool.

Original story here




Odd news from around the world

Former soldier’s life saved by his pets who licked him awake to call for help: “An ex-soldier was brought back from the brink of death by his pet dogs. Billy Malone, 66, collapsed at his home in Llanfairfechan, North Wales, and banged his head on a radiator knocking himself out. But his pet terrier Rocky and Rhodesian Ridgeback Copa came to the rescue and managed to wake Mr Malone up by licking his face. The Royal Signals veteran, who was alone at the time, managed to call for help and paramedics who arrived on the scene said he probably would not have survived had the dogs not woken him up. He was suffering from internal bleeding, caused by tearing a vein in his stomach after coughing the previous week.” Billy was taken by ambulance to Gwynedd Hospital in Bangor where he is now recovering.”

Aluminum tents for mountaineers! “The temporary dwelling in Zermatt, Switzerland houses 25 cozy tent-shaped aluminum shelters each accommodating two people. While situated at Hoernligrat at the foot of the Matterhorn, the Base Camp has amazing views of the surrounding mountains. Alpinists and day-trippers are welcome to enjoy the Camp’s cabin-style delicacies, which officially open tomorrow. The silver pods cost £98 per person per night and replace the Hoernli hut which is closed during the summer for renovation. The Base Camp Matterhorn will be removed after 15 September. Next year will mark the 150th anniversary of the first Matterhorn ascent. On 14 July 1865, the British climber Edward Whymper reached the top together with three mountain guides and three English. Only three people survived the descent.”

Unloved limousine: “This is the vintage Daimler limousine which has been gathering dust in a Romanian hotel car park for over a decade after failing to start for Prince Philip during a royal trip to Bucharest. The rare and valuable vehicle was supposed to ferry the Prince around after he arrived in the city for a key World Wildlife Fund meeting in 2001. But it was abandoned in disgrace after refusing to start for the visit and according to the hotel’s car park manager nobody has wanted anything to do with it since. According to Bucharest Intercontinental Hotel officials and the managers of the car park underneath the hotel, the vintage Daimler DS 420 is the property of the British Embassy. And they say that despite writing to them on several occasions, the Embassy in the capital Bucharest had ignored the correspondence and were apparently refusing to have anything to do with the car. As a result car park managers now say that they have applied to the court to have the car declared as their property”

Child molester gets his due: “A father who walked in on a man allegedly sexually assaulting his 11-year-old son beat the man to a pulp before calling police to say they could come collect him from a ‘bloody puddle’ on his floor. The 35-year-old man, who has not been identified, told a 911 dispatcher in the early hours of Friday: ‘I just walked in on a grown man molesting [name redacted]. And I got him in a bloody puddle for you right now, officer.’ Police arrived at the Daytona Beach home in Florida to find Raymond Frolander, 18, unconscious. When the 911 responder asked the father if any weapons were involved, he said: ‘My foot and my fist’. The father added: ‘He stood up and his pants were around his ankles and nothing else needed to be said. I did whatever I got a right to do except I didn’t kill him.'” The father was not charged in the suspect’s beating, police spokesman Jimmie Flynt said.

Unusual stablemates: “They say opposites attract – and an amorous tabby cat and horse go a way to prove the theory. The two animals, who live on a farm in Brussels, Belgium, were filmed sharing an intimate moment of affection together. The friendly feline is seen sat on the wall of a stable enclosure rubbing up against the horse, who peers over the barrier. Both seem happy and relaxed in each other’s company. The tabby is heard purring and swirling its tail around, as it gives the horse some loving. At one point it turns around and performs a blissful ‘meow’ to the camera.

And don’t forget to catch up with all the Strange Justice before you go.

1 Comment »

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  1. Slight mistake in the case of assault rifles. It has been illegal in the United States since 1933 to purchase a fully automatic rifle, with a few weird exceptions (if your Tommy Gun was first purchased before the law was passed, it’s OK; it’s also 81 years old, worth a bundle and is almost certainly a collector’s item). “Assault rifle” means “rifle that kinda looks like an M-16” – but not fully automatic. The most common example is the AR-15, which is semi-automatic – meaning, pulling the trigger sends out one (and only one) bullet, but it also chambers the next round. The distinction is that you don’t have to pull the bolt back before each shot.
    There is a good deal of liberal hysteria on this (propaganda war in progress). The really dangerous weapons aren’t “assault rifles” but the common semi-automatic pistol. Most shooting deaths involve the pistol for the simple reason that it’s much, much easier to conceal. You can’t hide an AR-15 in your back pocket. You can, however, get it out of the closet to point at the burglar in your home (who, in the United States, is highly likely to be armed.)

    It is possible, however, to purchase a war-surplus tank. I have no information, however, on the effect this has on the crime rate.

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