I spotted a story in an online version of a newspaper yesterday – in fact I was pointed to it by a comment in one of the Health and Safety discussion forums I inhabit. According to this story, the new Corporate Manslaughter legislation is leading companies to cancel all sorts of adventurous team-building exercises, including bungee jumping, karting and paintballing. According to the story, if anyone was hurt or killed on these activities, their employer who’d sent them on it could be prosecuted, or even imprisoned.

Normally I’d be in favour of anything that caused all that corporate team building gerbils to be cancelled: It used to be really funny thinking of all those middle-aged overweight managers running around and pretending they liked each other, but now I’m a middle-aged overweight manager it suddenly isn’t so amusing. But this paper was using the story as another excuse to laugh at the Health and Safety profession, and hadn’t even got its facts right.

Luckily the website offers a chance to post comments on its stories, and plenty of people had already taken the opportunity to laugh at nanny-state Britain, and label Health and Safety people as a bunch of humourless killjoys. I posted my own comment explaining that this wasn’t what the Act was designed to achieve and that the chances of any employer being prosecuted – as long as they’d used a reputable and competent activity organiser – was pretty minimal. I signed off with my real name and a working e-mail address, and added “Health and Safety Professional”.

The comment didn’t appear – although several more, in the same critical vein as the story itself, did. I later discovered that at least three other comments from Health and Safety people, all pointing out the errors in the story, had also failed to appear.

So lets see if you can guess who this paper is, who seem to be censoring comments that detract from the sensationalism of a story: Is it the Daily Sport? Or perhaps the Health-and-Safety-hating Daily Mail? Nope – and I’d say in passing that although I hate the Mail’s treatment of Health and Safety, they’ve always been very quick to publish my letters disagreeing with them. No, it was this story in the on-line edition of Britain’s Quality Daily, The Times.

The Times crossword isn’t all it’s made out to be, either.

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