Sometimes even the simplest pleasures in life can be engulfed in red tape. In 13 years of providing compensation, at Accident Advice Helpline we are no strangers to bizarre situations where a well-intentioned employer or local authority, has introduced a health and safety measure to reduce the chances of a slip, trip or fall, which may inhibit local people from carrying out their leisure activities.
Wiltshire pensioner banned from tending to flower bed
In 2007 in Wiltshire, a pensioner was banned from tending to her flower bed, unless she erected “Men at work” warning signs and wore a fluorescent jacket in order to be clearly visible whilst tending to her flower beds.
June Turnbull, then 79, whose voluntary work on the flower bed had produced a stunning array of colour, was told by council officials that she posed a health and safety risk, and that she could not tend to the flower bed unless she complied with the safety regulations laid down by the council.
Neighbours in Urchfont, near Devizes, Wiltshire, were outraged and amazed that Mrs Turnbull’s green fingers were being bound by red tape and bureaucracy.
The gardener, who had been working on the flowerbed for eight years, said she would ignore the council’s demands and continue to work on her flower beds.
Whilst the intentions of Mrs Turnbull may have been admirable, it is also important to note that this was a genuine attempt by Wiltshire to reduce the chances of Mrs Turnbull, or members of the public, suffering from a slipping, tripping and falling accident.
The above example illustrates the pressures that many local authorities are under in order to strike an appropriate balance between protecting the health and safety of its citizens, and avoiding encroachment in personal freedoms.
Having an accident is still a very serious matter, and if you’ve suffered an injury as a result of a tripping hazard that wasn’t clearly signposted within the last 3 years and it wasn’t your fault, then you may be entitled to make a public liability claim. Contact Accident Advice Helpline today. Our freephone lines are open 24/7, where a friendly and professional advisor is waiting to take your call on 0800 689 0500.