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When the Health and Safety Executive Attacks      Channel 5 19/6/01
Reviews

From: MaSs
Category: TV
Date: 19 June 2001

Review

Following a recent glut of programmes in the 'accident,stunt and real life tragedies giving rise to heroic episode' genre (most commonly found on SKY ONE and Channel 5) this programme gave an intelligent and fascinating insight into the unseen and unsung work of the HSE which invariably follows the incidents depicted in the afore-mentioned shows. Seldom do we see the protracted investigations and civil litigation which ensue after motorcycle stuntmen have landed in a heap on the bonnet of a bus or the expensive public enquiries which are a consequence of the suburban gas explosion or warehouse fire. As I discovered, the intricate and highly specialized administrative processes of the HSE are far more entertainig and exhilarating than the supposedly 'death defying' events which preceed them. The civil servants are the real heroes here. When an investigation is completed - always to schedule - it is comprehensive,impartial,insightful and authoratitive. They deliver their verdict and those corporations/individuals who have been found liable are left in no doubt they have been dealt with by the HSE. They are crushed- like the limbs of those hapless employees so often trapped beneath a 500lb joist which has fallen from a great height from a poorly maintained factory ceiling cross-beam. They never again dare to contravene health and safety legislation. Watching the HSE officers in action was like watching an elite no-nonsense crack squad of assassins -but good assasins, who help those who aren't clued up on health and safety regulations and/or have had a serious accident in the workplace or on land/property maintained at the public expense. Not assassins like Carlos the Jackal or that weirdo who tried to kill the Pope; the HSE has a strict code of conduct or code of honour which forbids violence or the possession of offensive weapons. Anyone found to have breached this code is instantly sent back to the DSS for a 'cooling off' period. 'Dave'- the Citroen car dealer whose show room had a defective boiler emitting carbon monoxide emissions 4% higher than the levels stipulated in last year's EU directive - was a broken man when the HSE slapped a 12.00 fine on his cowboy outfit and a notice of forfeiture on his calor gas G-25 moibile home heater. 'The HSE catches the cowboys', says William Nestorbury, Chief Executive of the HSE. 'But we're not Indians', he insists. 'Or native Americans either..'He adds. That's right. The Health and Safety Executive are all-British style good-guy back to basics heroes and/or assassins. 'When the HSE Attacks 2' is, I understand, already in production. Nice one.

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