In Keeping With Our Obsession About Health and Safety

In today’s society, to argue against steps that are designed to keep us safe and healthy is like arguing against motherhood as a worthwhile undertaking. At work and in our homes, the health and safety officers are on the case.

At work we have studies on unsafe practices, consultants to tell us how to bend and lift, colleagues are trained and responsible for leading us in this endeavour and managing directors proudly taking the credit for providing a safe and healthy environment for their people. We have electronic signs on building sites telling all who pass how many days it has been since someone was killed or injured on the site.

In our homes too we must have smoke detectors and we can’t smoke in cars carrying children. Whatever we may think about the intervention of the government in our lives and the decay of our liberties to live as we want, this movement has momentum and is now seen as a mark of a well-developed society.

In owners corporation land the health and safety movement is retarded. Very often the same people that at work would dare not speak against health and safety ridicule the idea and mock its fanatical ways as it applies to the common property where we live. Paths are broken, carpet in doorways is lifting at the edges, tiles are loose, exit signs are not visible and fire extinguishers are not serviceable. Building mangers stand on milk crates to work at heights, janitors push large bins up hills and the floors are cleaned and wet first thing in the morning as the lobby is in peak use. We don’t seem to understand that health and safety laws apply to where we live and share common property. Laws about fire safety and essential services apply to all buildings whether domestic or commercial and other laws apply because our common properties are regarded as workplaces for the purpose of laws designed to create safe and healthy workplaces.

It matters not that the owners corporation does not employ the workers on a permanent or casual basis, it is enough that contractors must, or at some stage may, come on to the grounds to do work. This triggers the application of the workplace health and safety laws. In other walks of life and human endeavour people are personally fined and jailed for breaching these very laws, but in strata land we act is if we could care less.

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