More than 600 people approached the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) Myth Busters Challenge Panel in its first 3 years after being told ‘health and safety’ stops them from doing something.
In the overwhelming majority of cases, the HSE panel has confirmed that health and safety regulations do not ban the activity and that ‘health and safety’ is being used as a smokescreen, usually to hide poor customer service.
Work and Pensions Minister, Lord Freud said:
People have had enough of bizarre health and safety excuses.
The HSE’s myth busters panel is quashing these ridiculous excuses and making sure people know it isn’t the law standing in their way.
As part of our long term economic plan, we have reinstated common sense and brought in a simpler set of legislations.
For too long businesses have been consumed by red tape and confusion, often feeling they needed to go beyond the requirements of the law, but it’s never been easier to understand the rules and make the right choice, without diluting protection for workers.
List of ‘Health and Safety myths
‘Selfie sticks banned from nightclubs’ and 10 more ‘Health and Safety myths:
- pork crackling not on the menu at a restaurant because it might splash the chef
- prams banned from a children’s centre for health and safety reasons
- dangerous daffodils removed from a village green
- custard pie fight at a local event cancelled because of health and safety
- chippy not allowing customers to put salt and vinegar on their fish and chips
- ban on playing with conkers and yoyos, using skipping ropes, and climbing trees
- selfie sticks banned in a nightclub
- sheep and cow droppings in a field stopping a scout group camping
- school production cancelled because lighting operator had not attended ladder training course
- loose flowers and pots not allowed on graves
- office ban on paperclips
The continuing popularity of the Myth Busters Challenge panel shows that people are not afraid to challenge overzealous behaviour which is still rife in the retail and leisure industries, education and workplace health and safety, despite action to bring in a simpler, modern set of rules.
A report published on 24 March 2015 shows that the HSE has reduced the overall stock of health and safety legislation by 50%.
From 1 October 2015, if you are self-employed and your work activity poses no potential risk to the health and safety of other workers or members of the public, then health and safety law will not apply to you. http://www.hse.gov.uk/self-employed/
Myth Busters Challenge Panel
The Myth Busters Challenge Panel (formed in April 2012) looks at complaints regarding advice from non-regulators such as insurance companies, health and safety consultants, employers and general advice where the term ‘health and safety’ has been used.
To date, over 350 cases have been considered and their responses published on the HSE website.
Read more about the Myth Busters – www.hse.gov.uk/myth