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.