Health, Safety and the English rain.

Britain’s safety is to be commended. The Health & Safety legislation which has been in place in the UK for almost four decades has contributed to this nation having the second lowest rate of workplace fatalities in Europe.

And away from the office, it has helped save lives with safer Christmas trees, and has been used to keep pencil sharpeners away from our children whilst at school.

But there remains a health and safety issue which hasn’t yet been addressed by those tasked with keeping us all safe, but which puts the wellbeing of millions at risk every time it rains.

I am of course referring to the umbrella. A device consisting of up to eight metal spikes brandished at head height and waved around in a fashion which simply invites innocent passers-by to have one or both of their eyes removed.

Sure, there are the smaller dome-shaped versions which serve no danger to fellow pedestrians. But these are not used widely and most umbrellas on show are cheaper looking models, on which the fabric is partly peeling from its supportive spokes.

In their most common form, it’s difficult to understand how umbrellas haven’t been banned already. If someone was to walk around a crowded city with kebab skewers poking out from their shoulders, it would be expected that an officer on the street might find something to say about it. Yet there remains no problem with protecting yourself from a bit of rain by pointing metal spikes at the heads of pedestrians in eight different directions.

With so much wet weather around it is something which needs to be addressed, and what better time to act than with Christmas around the corner? After all, following so much expense which some councils have gone to in order to ensure that branches of our city’s Christmas trees aren’t going to fall off and cause injury and/or embarrassment to an innocent spectator, why not take a further step of making sure we can all leave safely with both eyes intact, too?

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