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Health and Safety Minister Mike Penning blasted for heartless a day after schoolgirl’s funeral

Tory letter bemoaning public-sector ‘jobsworths’ condemned as fiddling while Rome burns

Crass Health and Safety Minister Mike Penning was slammed yesterday for a bulk mailout targeting public-sector “jobsworths” two weeks after 12-year-old Keane Wallis-Bennett was crushed to death at school in Edinburgh.

The Hemel Hempstead MP sent the letter to councils and schools condemning “ridiculous” measures justified by health and safety concerns.

He listed examples of a school refusing to allow a chick being brought in and a Scottish council’s ban on dog shows in a community hall to back up his claims.

“Health and safety has long been used as a smokescreen by jobsworths who have little knowledge of the law and who want to fob people off with an easy excuse,” Mr Penning complained.

Mr Penning’s comments came a day after the funeral of Keane, who was fatally injured when a wall collapsed on top of her at Liberton High School in Edinburgh on April 1.

Campaigners accused him of spending his time focusing on trivia instead of targeting dangerous environments.

A spokeswoman for campaign group Families Against Corporate Killers said: “Concentrating on these trivial issues but not on making schools safe in 

the weeks after 

a child’s death is not just insensitive, it is insane.

“Banning wrist bands, frilly socks or bringing a chick into school on health and safety grounds is of course wrong, irritating and extremely silly, but none of these will kill, maim or give anyone cancer.

“However a failure to ensure safe buildings, working environments, work practices and manage asbestos in schools does threaten the lives and health of everyone in school.

She added: “After Keane Wallis-Bennett’s death the Health and Safety Executive should be cracking down on schools that are exposing staff and pupils to such lethal risks.”

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