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Health and Safety bosses release latest barmy excuses

The Health and Safety Executive has released the latest examples of barmy ‘elf n’safety’ excuses which have no place within the legislation.

HSE’s Myth Busters Challenge Panel was set up in 2012 to provide quick advice to people subject to ridiculous or disproportionate health and safety decisions by insurance companies, local authorities, employers and overzealous jobsworths.

The Panel has received over 200 cases since being launched in April last year with nearly all rulings finding a decision was made without having any basis in health and safety law.

The top ten latest examples include

  • A notice declaring ‘under three year olds are not allowed on the premises or in the restaurant’ on the front door of a chip shop in Aldeburgh.
  • A children’s soft play centre in Oxfordshire with signs stating: “customers must not consume their own food or drink on the premises due to health and safety reasons”.
  • A Village Hall in Burford, Oxfordshire has told people using the hall for private parties, they must use a dishwasher. The Committee reckons putting your hands in soapy suds is a health and safety issue.
  • A gym put up a notice stating that for ‘health and safety reasons, members are requested to only use the hair dryers for hair on the head’.
  • A hotel refused to provide toilet brushes in its bathrooms for patrons on the grounds of, you guessed it, health and safety.
  • A table tennis table used by factory workers in break times was removed after a jobsworth claimed it was a health and safety risk
  • One diner who went to a department store in Perth for breakfast thought staff were yolking when he was told he couldn’t have a fried egg for health and safety reasons.
  • One overzealous racecourse steward confiscated a sun parasol from a racegoer because he said it posed a health and safety risk
  •  A Chinese restaurant in East Sussex refused to provide a customer with a finger bowl giving health and safety as the reason.

Minister for Employment Mark Hoban said: “It’s time businesses and others stopped hiding behind health and safety when the simple truth is that they are either jobsworths or giving poor customer service. Their attitude gives health and safety a bad name and it undermines good health and safety which keeps people safe and enables them to enjoy the summer.”

HSE Chair, Judith Hackitt added: “The stories just keep on coming in – you just could not make them up. I am proud of what our Myth Busters Panel has achieved in exposing the real reasons behind all of these so-called “health and safety” stories. If we understand what is really driving this blatant misuse of health and safety then we can all tackle the root causes – jobsworths be warned!”

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