A Coventry bus driver has lodged an appeal against his suspension from the coach company he has worked for for five years, after being sacked for eating a solitary grape in the cab of an empty bus that was sitting in the depot.
National Express proclaims "health and safety management is the most important thing we do." Whilst no one would dispute passenger safety should come first, it seems some jobs-worth has taken the health and safety remit too far in the sacking of 66-year-old Michael Shephard.
The Telegraph reported Shephard was caught on CCTV popping a grape into his mouth. However, he wasn't risking the lives of a bus full of people, nor did the grape distract him from his duties, as the bus was not only stationary but empty. He did not even commit the grave sin of eating a whole bunch of grapes.
Shephard explained his breach of the rules. He said "I don't eat or drink while I am driving but I was just sat stationary at the bus terminus in Bedworth for a few minutes and took a grape to wet my mouth a bit. I had a heart by-pass 12 months ago and the medication dries your mouth so I just take a sip of water or a grape sometimes when I'm sat at the station or terminus.
I had already eaten my lunch so there was only a few grapes left in my lunchbox. And rather than getting off the bus to eat the grape I just stayed sitting in the cabin. I explained why I needed to have a sip of water or a grape every hour or so but they said it is still against the rules."
There has been repeated claims that health and safety legislation is strangling British businesses,with Prime Minister David Cameron pledging to slay the "health and safety monster." This is Money UK reported Cameron said 2012 would be the year "we kill off the health and safety culture for good."