Trapeze artists being ordered to wear hard hats and other health and safety myths to be challenged

Published on Wednesday, 11 April 2012 11:06
Posted by Scott Buckler

A new myth busting challenge panel is being launched today to curb the worst examples health and safety misuse

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) will run the Myth Busters Challenge Panel, which will provide quick advice to people who are subject to ridiculous or disproportionate health and safety decisions.

The panel will separate legitimate decisions to protect people from real risks from those not required in health and safety law.  This will allow decisions by insurance companies, local authorities and employers among others to be contested.

HSE has today published its top ten worst health and safety myths – exactly the sort of decisions the panel would challenge:

  •     Children being banned from playing conkers unless they are wearing goggles
  •     Office workers being banned from putting up Christmas decorations
  •     Trapeze artists being ordered to wear hard hats
  •     Pin the tail on the donkey games being deemed a health and safety risk
  •     Candy floss on a stick being banned in case people trip and impale themselves
  •     Hanging baskets being banned in case people bump their heads on them
  •     Schoolchildren being ordered to wear clip on ties in case they are choked by traditional neckwear
  •     Park benches must be replaced because they are three inches too low
  •     Flip flops being banned from the workplace
  •     Graduates ordered not to throw their mortar boards in the air

Minister for Employment Chris Grayling said:

    “All too often jobsworths are the real reason for daft health and safety decisions. We want people who are told they cannot put up bunting or they cannot play conkers to know that there is no basis in law for such rulings.

    “Common sense is the key to successful health and safety. The Myth Busters Challenge Panel will advise people where they think local authorities, insurance companies or schools have got it wrong.”

Judith Hackitt, HSE chair and chair of the new panel, said:

    “Over the years we’ve seen health and safety invoked – wrongly – in defence of some pretty absurd decisions.

“When people hear about children being ordered to wear goggles to play conkers or the dangers of candy floss on a stick it undermines public confidence in the true task of health and safety, which is to manage serious risks to life and limb in Britain’s workplaces.

The launch of the Myth Busters Challenge Panel will add an important new voice for common sense. I am determined that the panel will help to put the spotlight on the worst health and safety myths and ensure that people give an honest account for their decisions.

“This is a great opportunity for the public to stand with us against the jobsworths and cynics who are trivialising health and safety to suit their own ends.”

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