Health and Safety and the skirl of the pipes

If you've ever heard a set of bagpipes in full skirl, you'll know they're pretty loud, yes? A pipe played on the old tartan octopus will travel for miles and miles. And what happens when you expose human ears to that kind of acoustic barrage? They sue. So, just to make sure nobody gets litigious, the Health and Safety bods at the Ministry of Defence have decided to limit the length of time pipes can be played by military personnel: 24 minutes outside, or 15 minutes inside, per day. Any more than that and he's not allowed to blow into his instrument*, because he risks damaging his hearing and suing the army.

Now there was a time -- back before 2000 AD -- that the military were exempt from Health and Safety regulation. But not any more. Yes, we're training them to kill other people, charge machinegun nests, bayonet the enemy, and drink NAFFI tea, all very, very dangerous activities, but we can't let them practice on the pipes for more than 24 minutes a day.

Of course, the logical conclusion of this will be that all activities likely to damage hearing will be regulated to minimise the risk of law suits. Like battle. After all, guns and bombs and mortars and napalm strikes are noisy, noisy things. A bagpipe produces 116 decibels if played in a small toilet that smells of Harpic, your average handgun creates 166. So it stands to reason that people's hearing is going to be at risk WAY before 24 (outdoor) minutes are up. So someone should be standing up after fifteen minutes and shouting: "Sorry chaps, we have to all stop fighting now -- Health and Safety!"**

Then everyone slopes off the battlefield and comes back tomorrow.

It's a thought, isn't it?

* And you can stop that right now! Childish titterers.
** Yeah -- I know, the military get a health and safety waiver for active combat, but it's more entertaining this way.