Sunday, February 12, 2017

(No) Common Sense and COSHH

COSHH- or the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health - is a legal requirement of those employing people in any capacity, or the  letting of property - [link]
 It involves a detailed risk assessment to identify and remove, as far as possible, risks to health from hazardous substances.

With holiday lets, often gas appliances are the most likely suspects, with carbon monoxide emissions the 'hazardous substance' to be avoided at all costs. Dodgy wiring and badly maintained flues are all on the hit list for COSHH - [ link] But so are any 'substances known to be injurious to health'.

So the recent experience of a holidaymaker staying in a self catering cottage has shocked us.

 Upon entry to the property he noticed a stainless steel bowl and four cans of dog food.

"I don't have a dog" remarked the visitor.
"Oh, they're for the badgers" replied the hostess, glibly explaining that part of the 'countryside experience' she offered, was to encourage local badgers and for guests to view their 'dining table' - which doubled as the property's patio. 

Now the conversation became a bit heated, as her guest was a veterinary surgeon, well versed in zoonotic Tuberculosis and its primary wildlife hosts. So when the cottage owner proceeded to tell him, with all the arrogance of the totally stupid, that zTB had nothing at all to do with badgers, and it was a cattle disease, he was able to inform her with the degree of certainty that his qualifications bestowed, that badgers were the main wildlife host of zTuberculosis in this country.

 And for good measure he added that as her cottages were situated within one of the worst hot-spots for that disease in the country, not only was she putting her guests at risk, she was breaking every COSHH rule in the book, by doing so. And as such had laid herself wide open to litigation should any of her guests, contract zTuberculosis  from a badger bowl which she had provided, swilled in tepid water along with the family's breakfast dishes.

This is one of those occasions where words really do fail us.

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