Don’t use safety as an excuse

The Government’s “Mythbuster” panel has discovered a few dubious rules and regulations invented by employers and others who try to use health and safety as an excuse for preventing activities. Former Employment minister Chris Grayling praised the fight back against jobsworths, and Judith Hackett from the Health and Safety Executive bemoaned the use of nonsensical health and safety rules as a smokescreen to justify unpopular decisions.

Examples included a ban on sleeping in camper vans on campsites, a golf course that prohibited the use of golf buggies, and cafes that refused to heat up baby food in case they were held liable for scalds and burns.

Another over-zealous decision to hit the headlines concerns a ban on taking umbrellas to a JLS concert in Sussex on a wet day. Organisers Spin Publicity collected them at the entrance, citing a health and safety risk. Mike Wilcock, HSE’s Head of Operations for the area, mused: “I wonder if it was more to do with making sure everyone could see the concert? If so, let’s be honest and not use health and safety as an excuse. After all, if there are concerns about people being poked in the eye, then it would follow that umbrellas should not be allowed on a busy high street or even used at all”.

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