By Joe Audritt (@JoeAudritt)
If I could be hysterical for just a moment…
The rise of litigation culture has given birth to the detestable Health & Safety Executive – forming like mold in modern businesses.
While some would have you believe that Health & Safety policies are all about the values of keeping our fellow humans healthy and safe, it is actually more about combating accountability in accident lawsuits.
In revenge for the working class taking advantage of modern litigation culture (understandably not passing up an opportunity to supplement their modest income after having an accident) – the corporations have dressed us all up as luminous clowns. ‘There you go Pleb, you shouldn’t be having so many accidents now.’
This has given rise to the Health & Safety bully – a curious character who takes great pleasure in beating staff over the head with the rule book under the guise of being for your own good. The type of person who will proudly proclaim they are trained in ‘risk assessment’ – a nonsense term replacing good old fashioned common sense with corporate Tarot card reading.
In many environments the high-visibility jacket has no safety benefits whatsoever – in the daytime for example when the reflective strips are obsolete. When hi-vis jackets were first introduced they were a novelty that stood out like a saw thumb, now however – in warehouses where everything is made luminous, the hi-vis has almost become camouflage.
In New Spitalfields Market in London for example there is over 300 forklift trucks in operation in what is essentially a large airplane hangar. The policy there is for all forklift drivers to wear a luminous hi-vis waistcoat, enforced by security. Once upon a time when I worked at Spitalfields, I was once approached by the Market Police who kindly reminded me that I had forgotten to put a hi-vis on while using a forklift. Without irony, the guy loyally defending Health & Safety policy told me I ‘stood out a mile’ because I was the only one of 300+ drivers not wearing one.
So in many circumstances, the hi-vis jacket has begun to fail its remit, but still the working classes are made to wear one. The hi-vis jacket has morphed into the uniform of the low-skilled rather than a practical piece of attire reserved for areas where it is actually useful, for example: night-time roadworks.
The hi-vis denotes the working class among us, whose who we know are the most hated group in society, treated with contempt and disdain by the establishment of politicians and the media.