Legislation Against Idiocy

Karl Pilkington got it spot on during the Mexican episode of an Idiot Abroad. When told that he was going to participate in something the government were trying to ban, he became concerned. He pointed out that no one in Mexico really seemed to bothered by health and safety matters, so if there was something they were trying to ban it ‘must be pretty mental’.

Health and safety legislation is observed much like any other legislation in Mexico. On a voluntary basis. Which usually means it’s ignored. The results can be pretty horrific, and I’ve come across the debris of a few ‘accidents’. Today I strolled past a workshop across the road from my in-laws business. They’d had an ‘accident’.

What’s the last thing you do when closing shop for the night, when your premises contain industrial sized bottles of butane, solvents, paints and other explosive materials? Well, it’s obvious of course. You light a candle that’s next to a Virgin of Guadalupe shrine. Natch. Sure to bring you luck and good health.

Luckily, the place didn’t blow for another couple of hours, so there was no one inside. The front metal shutters, which are pretty sturdy units, were blown out, and the fire that followed charred most of what was inside pretty nicely.They were bringing out what was salvageable when I passed. And trying to sort out the shutters.

I used to think Health and Safety paperwork was an unecessary bane in the UK. Can’t they trust people not to be idiots? In Mexico I’ve learned that H&S law is just the nice way of saying Legislation Against Idiocy. Because far too many people are, I’m afraid, idiots, and not to be trusted to behave otherwise.

6 Comments

  • That is exactly the way it was in South Africa which was precisely what made us move to the UK in the first place. Ste is a H&S manager and he just wasn’t going to develop professionally in SA (unless you count the art of accepting bribes as a professional development). I get a weekly H&S newsletter and am blown away at the negligent things big employers do in this country. Some of the worst accidents happen and I am quite surprised that they never hit the news.

    • I came across some stunning stupidity while working for an oil company in the UK. Incidents such as one chap in an underground fuel tank taking off his breathing apparatus for just a minute to have a scratch…..fortunately he was pulled out alive.

  • I guess this is why everything in Mexico is made of concrete….best bet to idiot-proof as much as you can.

    And perhaps another take-away is that the Virgin doesn’t suffer fools lightly.

    Saludos,

    Kim G
    Boston, MA
    Where there’s no shortage of idiots either

  • I guess the Virgin was on vacation…..Not much different than the plumbers checking for propane leaks on the lines, with a propane torch lit, to see if any place on the line flames up…..
    There are millions of stories.

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