Health & Safety rules cost church £500 to change £2 light bulbs

St Mary's Rector Paul Smith

St Mary's Rector Paul Smith in a dark church in a dead country.

Firstly, apologies fellow sojourners for not writing in ten days. The spirit of blogging was low in me. Of all the garbage in the news lately, this is the one which has my fingers furiously tapping the keyboard again. You might be wondering why another silly health and safety story got me back on the trail, but I was incensed by a) the way people blindly accept these stupid rules and b) where the priorities lie for the ‘authorities’ who lord over us.

A church is refusing to change a light bulb because it says overzealous health and safety rules mean it would cost £500 to change the £2 fixture.

Health and safety rules mean scaffolding is required whenever a bulb needs replacing in the 30ft internal roof at St Mary’s Church in Cottingham, Humberside. The church says the rules mean they cannot simply use ladders to change the bulb.

The staggering cost of performing the basic task means the church has to wait until a number of lights have popped before using scaffolding to replace the bulbs.

What’s wrong with folk? Some suit from the council turns up and tells them to stop changing the bulbs the way they have done for the past century and they all crumple like rag dolls and end up living like this…

Not surprisingly, the clergy and congregation could be forgiven for taking a dim view, as it makes it hard to see the hymn books.

St Mary’s Rector Father Paul Smith said: “Because of health and safety rules now, people can’t take up a very long ladder to change the light when the tubes go.

“So every time we need to have some bulbs replaced we hang on until a few need replacing before we get someone in with scaffolding.”

Take the ladder out; I won’t tell anyone. But I know one or two people who would: the sort of people who think the government is God and if you disobey a rule, no matter how obscure, ridiculous or unjust, your ‘crimes’ need to be exposed.

The 14th-century church in Hallgate has 30 internal roof lights and about a quarter of the 500-watt lights have gone out. Father Smith said: “The thing is, you can have new bulbs put in one week and then two or three more will go the next week and you are plunged into semi-darkness.

“You will lose one and you can cope with that, but then the next one will go and you have a really dark spot.

“It is not a very light building anyway. At the moment it’s very dark in the evenings because so many lights have gone.

“We don’t want to get the scaffolding until it’s absolutely necessary because we don’t want to be doing it every single time.

As it’s a 14th-century church, why don’t they go back to using candles?

“Health and safety concerns also rule out candlelight as an alternative for the grade one listed building.”

The whole country is turning into a Monty Python sketch!

“There may soon be light at the end of the tunnel for St Mary’s. The village church is now looking at installing an LED (light-emitting diode) lighting system. LEDs have a longer lifetime so the lights would not have to be so frequently replaced.”

Not replacing bulbs would save the church valuable funds at a time when costs are high. The church has had £30,000 of roof lead stolen in five raids in the past three years, including the latest theft in August.

I trust there are health and safety measures in place to protect the thieves when they make their sixth trip to steal lead from the roof, while the cops are busy questioning evil light-bulb-changing vicars.

Father Smith said stolen lead is being replaced with stainless steel in a bid to deter the thieves. Villagers have rallied round to help with fundraising, with the church’s recent annual Gift Day raising about £6,000.

Well, six grand can buy a few guard dogs to tear the limbs off the thieving swine, thus saving a fortune on having the roof fixed every few months.

Can you believe all this stuff? This country is no more! It has ceased to be! It’s a stiff! Bereft of life! THIS IS AN EX-COUNTRY!!

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56 Responses to Health & Safety rules cost church £500 to change £2 light bulbs

  1. isitfoggy says:


    “On the contrary, so-called ’sex education’ leads directly to promiscuity and thereby to abortion. It is a cause and an aggravator, it is the culprit and it is the problem, it is not the solution.”

    How does Denmark fit with this then? Better education = fewer pregnancies and abortions over there.

    I only go on about kiddie fiddling because you pretend it is not happening and I’ve told you before that a single instance is too much, whoever does it. Perhaps you could put more effort into this rather than brothels. Is being abused as a child linked to prostitution in later life?

    By the way, it’s arrogant to keep telling us how smarter, harder etc. you are then the rest of us.

  2. How on earth could anybody conclude that I am in denial of the occurrence of kiddy fiddling?! Bizarre.


    This must be a first but you’ve actually raised a worthwhile question regarding Denmark. (Although I think you actually mean Holland.)

    I can’t say I have a great desire to be replying to an enemy pseudonym at ten o’ clock on Saturday night so I’m going to try to keep this brief.

    I have had to go digging around drawers but I’ve just managed to pull out the paper I wanted about comparisons between British ‘sex education’ and other countries. It’s on paper and it’s not my work so I can’t just stick the whole thing up here – which if I could’ve done would’ve answered your point powerfully, in depth and with examples and sources.

    Quoting from the paper: “In 2009, the Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency (QCDA) commissioned the publication of research into sex education in various other countries. … Of 18 countries surveyed in research, which was based on data for 2005, it found that the lowest rates of teenage births for 15-19 year olds were in: Japan, Korea, Switzerland, the Netherlands, France, Italy and Sweden. Does this research show that low-teenage birth-rate countries have comprehensive sex education programmes? No it doesn’t.”

    The paper goes on to look at each of these countries in more detail – and it looks into the case of the Netherlands in the greatest detail of all.

    In the above quote from the paper, for clarity I should make explicit that the point the last two sentences are making – the essential point of the whole paper [which is explicit if you could read all of it] – is to show very clearly that the style and content of ‘sex education’ in the aforementioned countries are nothing like the British model.

    The key conclusion is that other countries do not demonstrate the success of ‘sex education’ [in the British sense] for a variety of reasons – including the fact that we are not comparing like with like in terms of what happens in the classroom, and also a range of significant broader cultural differences.

    The Netherlands is the ‘classic example’ which the British social-liberal sex brigade [i.e. anti-parent and pro-teen-promiscuity brigade] – including for example the FPA, Brook, Sex Education Forum etc – frequently cites of ‘sex education’ going hand-in-hand with low teen pregnancy. The Netherlands is the British teen-sex brigade’s imaginary paradise where, they would have us believe, everything they stand for is implemented and the result is low teen pregnancy.

    Quoting from the paper again: “The Netherlands has a low-teenage pregnancy rate, but there is no programme of ‘comprehensive SRE.'” [I.e. We are not comparing like with like – we are not talking about British style ‘sex education’ when discussing what happens in the Netherlands.]

    Furthermore, the paper states: “The Netherlands is the most widely used example to prove that SRE at an earlier age, and more explicit SRE, lowers the teenage conception rate. However, evidence from the QCDA/ NFER study demonstrated the contrary.”

    The paper notes that Dutch culture in general is different to British culture. Dutch culture is much more integrated, much more centred on the traditional family and parents take greater responsibility and have a more direct involvement in the raising and education of their children.

    The majority of Dutch children grow up in stable two-parent families.

    In the Netherlands there is no State financial support available for teenage mothers under the age of 18.

    For Dutch teenage girls, getting pregnant is not an instant passport to get your own all expenses paid council house.

    There is still a social stigma attached to being a single teenage mother in the Netherlands.

    The paper cites the conclusion of researcher Dr. Van Loon that: “…Dutch teenagers have been less engulfed by the sexualisation of culture and have maintained a connection between sexuality and morality. As a result, they abstain from sexual intercourse until a later age than British teenagers.” [N.B. This “morality” of Dutch teenagers referred to here is not what they are picking up from ‘sex education’ – to be clear, it’s what they are picking up from their parents and from general Dutch culture.]

    Quoting the paper again: “Case studies suggest that the social and emotional aspects of sex get very little attention in the Dutch curriculum because the emphasis is strongly on knowledge and risk perception. …the social and emtional aspects are more often addressed by parents with their children.”

    Perhaps the key passage in the paper regarding the Netherlands is as follows [quoted here without the footnotes which give the stats sources]: “…in the Netherlands, teenage pregnancy rates continued to drop until 1995, after which they began to rise. Taking the decade 1990-2000 as a whole, Dutch teenage conception rates increased by 35%, with considerable regional variations. The scale of this increase is not reflected in the teenage birth statistics due to the sharp increase in conceptions terminated by abortion. In 1999/2000, 62.7% of conceptions to females aged 15-19 in the Netherlands led to an abortion, compared with 13.6% among Dutch women in general. In this period there was an increase in reported STIs (with a 40% increase in chlamydia). Van Loon presents statistics for the year 2000, that demonstrate method and use failure rate for the pill accounted for 45.4% of reported contraceptive failure, which accounted for 31.3% of all pregnancies ending in abortion. Even if Dutch sex education was as liberal and explicit as its [British] admirers claim it to be, the results would still demonstrate an overall increase in teenage conceptions, pregnancies, abortions, and STIs.”

    The central point about the myth of Dutch-style ‘sex education’ resulting in a lower teenage pregnancy rate is encapsulated in that last sentence:

    “Even if Dutch sex education was as liberal and explicit as its [British] admirers claim it to be, the results would still demonstrate an overall increase in teenage conceptions, pregnancies, abortions, and STIs.”

    Clearly, Holland is not the permissive paradise which British ‘sex education’ advocates claim. The example of Holland does not provide an argument in favour of compulsory State ‘sex education’ of British children, at even younger ages and of an ever more graphic nature – certainly not based on the evidence.

    Many years of evidence show that in the UK, the more that our children are subjected to ‘sex education’ then the inevitable result is ever more teen pregnancies, abortions and STIs – and the more broken and dsyfunctional our society becomes.

  3. Junican says:

    Stuart Cowan has highlighted the silliness of people who think that H & S rules apply to them personally. They do not. They apply to ‘at work’ situations. There are no such laws which stop people from climbing on their own roofs, scaffold or no scaffold. The vicar can climb up a ladder and change the fixture if he wishes to. Or, a volunteer can. That is not an ‘at work’ situation.

    Why do politicians leave us all in such ignorance? It seems that there is an H & S rule which requires a ‘qualified electrician’ to change a light fitting. Well, yes – but only in a ‘work’ situation. Individuals can change light fittings if they wish to – at their own risk.

  4. isitfoggy says:

    Thanks for answering a question I didn’t ask. Denmark.

    Btw. Last time I looked at an atlas there were considerably more than 18 countries so it doesn’t appear to be very thorough.

    Now, on to more serious matters:

    “It’s interesting how greatly concerned you are about kiddy fiddling by a handful of rogue priests…”

    Statements like that Richard demonstrate that you don’t take it seriously. Quite frankly it’s a disgrace. I suspect you’re one of them.

  5. Clearly you’re severely idiotic Foggy. You are way out of your depth on this blog. Try the Teletubbies instead:

  6. Isitfoggy says:

    Whatever you say Tinky Winky ;)

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