One day in December 2005, Lucy and I were almost thrown out of bed by a major blast, followed by a rumbling roar. “Sonic boom? RAF playing silly B’s?” I thought. 14 miles away, Buncefield fuel storage depot was going up in smoke. At 2·4 on the Richter scale, this was a biggie, followed by the largest fire since World War II. A switch had failed allowing a tank of unleaded to overflow. The oil company accepted no liability and shot the sergeant. Apparently component failure in a complex fuel handling system with inadequate error traps, is all the fault of the little guy drinking tea in the shed at the gate. Interesting theory. But where, I wondered, was health and safety in all of this? Checking the paperwork? Counting the wheelnuts on the tankers?
Apologies to our glorious Health and Safety industry, but after a day’s chuckling over it, I can’t resist. Here, courtesy of the Wardman Wire, is the ultimate health and safety advice, on crossing your drive without risking life and limb. The delight is in the detail.