A classic example of giving health and safety a bad name

30 Jun

My boyfriend and I recently booked a much needed summer holiday to Turkey through a well known and reputable travel company.

Since booking the holiday I’ve been dreaming about sandy beaches, crystal blue sea and beautiful sunsets, counting down the days until I can lie by the pool every day, read my book and enjoy the sun…12 sleeps to go to be exact.

So imagine my excitement when I arrived home from work last night to find that a cute little booklet had arrived in the post, which included our flight tickets and information about our holiday destination.

Flicking through the booklet I found details about visa requirements, baggage allowance and useful contact details if I need to get in touch with my holiday provider while I’m there.

I then came across a section entitled ‘Health and Safety’. Naturally I was interested to read what there was to say on the subject, but the introduction put me off completely. It read: “It’s not the most interesting topic, so we’ll tell you what you need to know and keep it brief…”

This angered me for a number of reasons. Firstly, it doesn’t take a qualified journalist to know this is not the best opening to something you want people to read. The fact that the very first sentence basically says ‘this is not very interesting’ isn’t going to encourage people to read on.

Secondly, this information is under the heading ‘Essentials’ so I assume they want people to read it? Even if I overlook the ‘don’t-read-this’ introduction, the fact they state that they’re keeping it brief makes me wonder what information they have left out. Is there some other information they’ve neglected to include because they want to keep it brief?

As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t claim to be a health and safety professional but one thing I’ve learnt from my four years at the British Safety Council is that health and safety is an important subject that people often dismiss as being uninteresting and unnecessary. This booklet is a classic example of health and safety being given a bad name even before it’s had a chance to prove itself as an interesting and necessary subject matter.

Obviously I won’t be putting the furniture on my balcony near the railings or getting a black Henna tattoo as the booklet advises against. But I can’t help thinking about the other people who have received this booklet and have not read any further than the first line because of the awful way in which this important information has been introduced.

So now I’ve got that off my chest, I can go back to dreaming about sun, sea and sand…and calculating how many more hours of work I have left until my holidy begins! What’s Turkish for health and safety?

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2 Responses to “A classic example of giving health and safety a bad name”

  1. Marcus June 30, 2011 at 10:41 am #

    Sadly, I think most people wouldn’t read beyond the first line. What a terrible way to introduce some points that could stop someone having a holiday they wish they could forget.

  2. Astutis June 30, 2011 at 12:32 pm #

    All it would take would be a few witty comments and a general comment that, everyone wants to enjoy their holiday safely, to make a useful readable piece of literature.

    I hope you have a great, safe holiday…. enjoy.

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