Paint incorrect in Wales

With every day that passes the world seems to go increasingly mad. It has just gone particularly bonkers on a Cardiff bus. In a vivid demonstration that who really runs Britain is not the Government, the Civil Service, big business nor Labour Party donors but the health and safety police, a man has been thrown off the No 9 service from Heath Hospital via city centre to Prospect Place for carrying a tin of paint. There are some items that it is inadvisable to carry on a Cardiff bus, such as an England rugby shirt. And there are some that are forbidden, such as guns, swords, gas cylinders or cans of petrol. But when Brian Heale got on board with his purchase for a DIY job at home he found that “antique cream” emulsion had been added to the list of undesirable luggage.

Mr Heale, 73, an RAF veteran who suffers shortness of breath after a heart attack, could not manage the 20-minute walk from the paint shop to his home in the Leckwith district of the city so, naturally, he caught the bus. But the driver caught Mr Heale in the act of carrying a can of emulsion and ordered him off. “When he told me I couldn’t take the paint on the bus I thought he was joking. But he parked the bus and called head office. He told me carrying the paint was against new health and safety regulations and told me to get off,” Mr Heale said yesterday. “It’s crazy and hysterical. Next thing, you won’t be able to take a wet umbrella on in case it drips water on the floor. Health and safety rules are one thing but this is just daft; it was a No 9 bus not a dangerous building site.”

Ejected on to the rainy street, Mr Heale took shelter in a cafe and ordered a cup of tea to steady his nerves. There the manager took pity on him and gave Mr Heale, and his paint, a lift home.

New health and safety rules governing public transport do indeed list paint as a “hazardous article”. It can be taken on the bus only if it is “carried in two containers, ie, a sealed pot and a bag, and is not left unattended on a parcel shelf where it could slide and tip, burst open and spread across the floor”.

Cardiff Bus admitted that it may have been a little hard on Mr Heale. A spokesman said: “We apologise to Mr Heale for the obvious inconvenience caused. The safety of our passengers is our No 1 priority, which is why the company takes regulations on health and safety very seriously.” The company admitted, however, that there were times when it needed to display a little more flexibility when enforcing the rules.

More examples of loony British safety regulations:

Paper napkins being handed out with meals-on-wheels in Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, were suspended by the council after fears that pensioners and disabled people might choke on them

After a woman caught her foot in the new doors at BBC Birmingham the corporation issued a memo “Revolving Security Door User Instructions”, advising staff on how to use a revolving door

Police called to investigate a broken stained-glass window at a church in Rochdale in March 2005 refused to inspect the damage because they did not have specialist “ladder training”

Moscow State Circus was warned in July 2003 that any acrobat performing at a height above that of the average stepladder would have to wear a hard hat or risk losing its insurance cover

Plans to chop down 20 horse chestnut trees were announced by Norwich City Council because it claimed that passers-by risked head injuries from sticks thrown up by children to knock down conkers

Gardeners working for Cheltenham council, in Gloucestershire, were banned from planting pansies under town centre trees because workers digging with trowels risked spraining their wrists in the root-filled soil



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