David Allen Green has published a detailed and lucid analysis of the situation at the New Statesman.
Read it in full at Closing the doors at St Paul’s Cathedral.
How seriously is the Cathedral taking health and safety concerns?
…The worrying refusal by the Cathedral to share the details of its supposed health and safety concerns with the protesters after Wednesday would seem to undermine the sincerity of its reliance on those concerns to close the Cathedral. Whatever one’s views as to the merits of the protesters, there can be no good reason for these details not to be shared, especially as it is claimed that the health and safety concerns are so serious as to mean that the Cathedral should be closed down completely.
This is a particularly depressing notion, given the Dean said expressly that the decision was taken “because of the legal requirements placed upon us by fire, health and safety issues”. So I asked the Cathedral for a full description of these health and safety issues, and this list was provided in response:
- Presence of unknown quantities of flammable liquids.
- Smoking/drinking within the tented areas.
- Potential gas safety within the catering facility.
- Compromised free fire exits, usually open now closed but manned.
- Slips, trips and falls exacerbated at night with cover of darkness.
- Due to the darkness issues on North side, use of naked flame lighting.
- Sleeping risk within the tented area, if fire should break out.
- Public heath issues
b Food hygiene
c Rodent/pest issue
- The issues of rope/guy-lines attached to trees, bollards, lamp standards possibly causing injury to face/neck/upper limbs and trips on low level guy-lines.
- VIP security due to camp protest.
- All of the above are representative of the possible injury to life and limb.
This prompts an obvious question, and so I asked the Cathedral what it was actually doing now to manage these risks, other than closing the Cathedral. What had it done since the closure, if it thought these risks were serious? But the Cathedral was not able to say.
I asked who compiled this list of issues. The vague response was “health and safety advisers”. Who were these advisers? The Cathedral would not say. What are their qualifications and expertise? The Cathedral would not say. Are they external or internal? The Cathedral would not say…
And there is a great deal more, including a very full response by the protesters. Read it all.