Stop! Beware of health and safety gone mad....

Over the years health and safety has received a bad reputation. There is a tendency for some organisations to use “health and safety” as an easy excuse in order to hide behind the real reason. HSE have made a start putting a stop to this [1] with their Myth Busters Challenge Panel a place where they dispel the myths that are giving health and safety a bad name. Below are just some examples of health and safety gone mad, taken from the HSE archive.

Graduate gate

Back in 2008 one university decided to ban the celebratory tradition of throwing the mortarboard on graduation day. This is a beloved photo opportunity by students across the world and to be denied this for fear of hurting oneself seems unreasonable. This opinion is seconded by HSE [2] who reiterate that there is no health and safety rule that prevents student’s throwing up their mortarboard in celebration.

Coffee conundrum

Imagine working in an office without tea; to most this is incomprehensible.  Last year HSE flagged up a case [3] of a banned kettle denying the staff hot drinks on the grounds that it was a health and safety hazard. The particular issue was with carrying hot, “open topped” mugs across the office. HSE quite rightly claimed this as a “poor excuse” as there is no evidence this is a legitimate heath and safety issue.

Take out tales

When a burger van used health and safety as a reason for not cutting a customer’s burger in half, HSE felt the need to rally to put a stop to this sort of “unhelpful response” [4] and misuse of so-called health and safety rules. HSE confirms that there is no health and safety legislation that would prevent a trained catering profession from using a knife in this way.

Flag fiasco

During the action of the World Cup 2014, one London builder was left angry and jobless after one supposed health and safety risk. The builder was asked to remove an England flag from scaffolding because it was dangerous. HSE disagreed with this theory [5] as did the dedicated England fan who quit his job in protest.

Fun police

Once again health and safety is getting some undeserved bad press. One manager has removed a table tennis table from the office claiming it as a health and safety risk instead of owning up to the real reason that it is probably just a distraction from working. HSE assure us [6] that all is required when using a table tennis table in the office is a suitable location.

So, we hope we’ve changed your view of health and safety. It’s not about banning a good cup of tea or stopping a fun game of table tennis. We feel that professional adults should be treated as such, tasked with managing risks and making assessments, sensibly and responsibly. (Without needing a qualification in kettle boiling!)

Here at Airsweb we create analytical software that enables organisations to act sensibly around the subject of health and safety. This allows business’s to focus their efforts on finding real solutions to real risks rather than wasting time on these health and safety issues gone mad.

As your QHSE partner, Airsweb work in collaboration with you to find the perfect health and safety software solution that will allow you to focus on improving the lives of your workforce. Contact the team today on 0151 2896811 or email info@airsweb.com.

Do you have your own example of health and safety gone mad? Let us know @airsweb. 

 

Sources: 

[1] http://www.hse.gov.uk/myth/index.htm

[2] http://www.hse.gov.uk/myth/myth-busting/2014/case309-university-bans-throwing-of-mortar-boards.htm

[3]http://www.hse.gov.uk/myth/myth-busting/2013/case146-office-kettles.htm

[4] http://www.hse.gov.uk/myth/myth-busting/2014/case303-burgervan-refuses-to-cut-burger-in-half.htm

[5] http://www.hse.gov.uk/myth/myth-busting/2014/case289-Builder-quits-job-over-removal-of-england-worldcup-flags.htm

[6] http://www.hse.gov.uk/myth/myth-busting/2013/case189-table-tennis.htm

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