Category Archives: Andrew Townsend

Heraith

file0001090917330I am just about to publish a book on safety. Many of my volunteer reviewers around the globe have commented that is very little about me in it and ask why I write the way I do. I will dodge the requests for an in depth analysis of my psyche and answer with one word ‘heraith’ (pronounced ‘here-eye-th’). Heraith is a Welsh word that originally meant a longing for one’s mother country but has come to mean a … Continue Reading ››

Respect is not just for the dojo

file000218346564I have close friends who study and teach Taekwondo. Variously they talk about ‘respect’. “The reason you bow to your opponent is that without him you would not have about” One relates a tale. One evening he had been taught by a Grand Master and, quite correctly, had bowed before and after his lesson. Later he had passed the Grand Master in the corridor without bowing. His immediate tutor reprimanded him with the words “Respect is not just for … Continue Reading ››

History of Health and Safety

Reading booksDo we really understand where we are in health and safety? There is a not so famous Churchillian quote that “A nation that does not understand its history has no future”. Winston Churchill was first and foremost a consummate historian. He used his knowledge of the trend of events in the past to predict future events. He wasn’t perfect at it and he got some things wrong (Gallipoli, the independence of India and the UK’s National Health Service) but … Continue Reading ››

Lessons from the UK’s Peak District

file000767648536Question – What have limestone quarries in the UK’s Yorkshire and Derbyshire, and Health & Safety got in common? Answer – Apart from silicosis (which has now been addressed by wet cutting techniques), they have absolutely nothing in common. One produces a range of tough resilient building materials generically referred to as ‘aggregates’; the other produces a bland compliant uniform and weak structure. But before reaching fingers to keyboard in protest at such an outlandish comparison, please take time … Continue Reading ››

You can have your cake and eat it

file0001645959371Safety is Our Number One Priority! Do they think we are stupid or what? Such a company slogan is one of the most illogical and naively transparent statements to make. If not hurting people in the workplace really was the number one priority the company would shut down and voluntarily go into liquidation – and then we would starve to death. As a former construction manager now turned academic my cynicism is founded on experience. What the … Continue Reading ››