Roger Blenkinsop, a health and safety officer from Dudley, could hardly believe his eyes last Monday. For when he turned on his computer he found an email in his inbox telling him that he was no longer employed by the firm he had worked for for the last twenty years...and all because of a breach of health and safety rules!
A mystified Roger immediately contacted the HR Department to ask what was going on and it was only then that he was told the reason for his dismissal. He was informed that for the previous six months he had been using his desktop computer in flagrant disregard of company health and safety guidelines; specifically without the leads and connecting wires being routed into the floor-based connection boxes in the manner prescribed by the very code of practice he had spent twelve months drafting.
Speaking from his home the former jobsworth told Radio 4's Today Programme. "Well it's health and safety gone mad isn't it? It's not as if I was doing anybody any harm really. So OK, my printer cable was two millimeters out of position but it's not exactly a hanging offence. I mean the world wasn't going to come to an end because of it."
But Roger's bosses were adamant that the correct procedures should have been followed at all times and were hearing none of his excuses. They issued the following statement:
"It is with considerable regret that we have had to dismiss Mr Blenkinsop, but must stress that our action, although not taken lightly, was nevertheless necessary to protect both him and his co-workers, from at the very least a minor mishap, to at the very worst, a slow and needlessly agonizing death. We cannot be expected to run a two-tier health and safety policy and have nothing further to add at this time."
Meanwhile Roger is considering bringing his employers to an Industrial Tribunal and is believed to be seeking legal advice on the exact position.
The Company MD who wishes to remain anonymous said, "What? Old Blenky Blenky Jobsworth? We used to call him Adolph you know. But if he'd have been let away with it then where would we be? Everybody would want their cables running willy-nilly to suit themselves wouldn't they? And as we all know, down that rocky road lies total anarchy."