Health and Safety Gone Mad (Again)!

I am sure you have all seen my whiteboard that I write messages on to keep the public up to date with what is happening in my life. This week a plain clothes policeman reported me to the Big Issue office as using language on the board that could be construed as begging. The notice on the board actually said – Lots of people on hols this week (lucky them!). Sales Tues 8/Wed 7 so not so hot – please stop and help, it will make you feel great!
So this was the supposed “begging” message. Unfortunately the Big I office was more interested in the board itself. The vendor co-ordinator, Chris, asked me – what is this board you have, where is it, how big is it, where is it in relation to the passing public etc. Now, everyone in the Big Issue office has seen my blog and also the film of my day that world-class journalist, Danielle Batist did for an online magazine article and my board features prominently in all these. I had to go into the office for a dressing-down about my potentially dangerous board and I have been told that I may use it only if I buy public limited liability insurance in case someone gets hurt by the board. Basically they are terrified that someone will try to sue them in such a situation, even though I am not an employee of the Big Issue as such, I am self-employed – if I was one of their employees then I would surely be covered by their own insurance. So now I have to raise £58 for insurance before I can entertain the passers-by with my wonderfully witty board! That’s definitely health and safety gone extremely mad – especially as my board has been in situ for three years already with no problems. If you have a minute, please email the Vauxhall office of the Big Issue and tell them how ridiculous all this is – thank you.

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3 thoughts on “Health and Safety Gone Mad (Again)!

  1. Totally ridiculous. P&C gone mad. Has no-one in authority seen the bloke who juggles flaming batons behind you most mornings. Surely the risk of someone getting hurt there is 100 times worse. What about the people selling the big issue with a dog or what about a cat around their shoulders, have they got insurance in case the animal bites someone! All you are trying to do is earn a living, I wish do-gooders would just back off and leave you to get on with your life.

  2. This actually made me laugh, so ridiculous! Apart from the fact that it is of course not too funny for you! Kev had heard your board madness story through the guys in work already and we were brainstorming whether it would be OK if you actually had the board right next to you, so no one (apart from yourself) could trip? Or what about those ad guys who have a board over their shoulders or hold up signs saying “burgers- 50m. left”? Oh well, what a craziness! And as for the policeman: what if you shout your messages out instead? Is that “begging” too? I think it’s clear from anyone who’s ever tried to sell a street paper that it’s far from begging. Don’t let it get you down!

  3. I have actually found a liability policy for about £50 a year to cover this problem and according to a friend who is a lawyer, as long as I always put “Please buy a mag” somewhere on the board, then I cannot be begging. I am asking people to buy and I DO have a product to sell so anything else mentioned cannot actually be classed as begging at all!! I now just have to raise the price of the policy and then I am off and running again. As I explained to my regulars, I have spent 25 years in shops and I know how to sell and how to catch people’s attention and I am not going to stop using that talent just because the office tells me to – I am self-employed and nowhere am I breaking their code of conduct. I actually feel like I have lost a limb without my lovely board!! Thanks for the lovely comment – you are always full of good common sense!!!! Sharon x

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