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6 Cases Where ‘Health and Safety’ was a Poor Excuse

These days health and safety has often become an excuse to inflict some very odd rules, most of which are unnecessary and take away common sense from people.

health and safety

We have put together a few examples of such happenings for your reading pleasure.

1 - A lady in an electric wheelchair was asked to leave a post office on "health and safety grounds"

The HSE panel advised that this was a 'disproportionate response'. 

The bigger issue here is the lack of compliance with equality and human rights. The disability rights commission published a report on what can be done to make business premises accessible to all.

See the full details of the case on the HSE website.

2 - A deaf worker was not allowed to fill up their Hearing Dog's water bowl from the office kitchen sink

A deaf worker who owns a Hearing Dog was told that she could not use the workplace kitchen sink to fill her dog's water bowl.

The HSE panel stated that there were no health and safety regulations that could conceivably stop the filling or emptying of a working dog’s water bowl in a kitchen area and that the employer should reconsider their decision.

See the full details of the case on the HSE website.

3 - Primary school staff were asked not to take any drinks onto the playground during breaks

Not allowing staff to have any drink, hot or cold in the playground was described as preposterous by the HSE panel.

See the full details of the case on the HSE website.

4 - A bar refused to let a customer carry tray of drinks because they had not been 'health and safety trained'

The HSE panel rightly said that this was ’patently ridiculous’. 

If health and safety training was required for this, then ‘health and safety’ could be used as an excuse to stop anyone doing almost anything.

See the full details of the case on the HSE website.

first aid box

5 - Plasters were not allowed in first aid box

Plasters, which are normally considered a first aid kit essential, were not included by one workplace saying they posed a health and safety risk. 

The HSE panel did not agree that this was acceptable and stated that if this was a concern hypo-allergenic plasters could be used.

Statutory first aid kits compliant with the latest regulations do include plasters.

See the full details of the case on the HSE website.

6 - A press story said health and safety is a barrier to children enjoying everyday activities

It was reported that health and safety is a barrier stopping children enjoying activities such as playing conkers, using skipping ropes or climbing trees.

Thankfully the HSE not only denied this but actively encouraged the opposite.

All activities carry some risk, there is no doubt that not doing activities such as these because of health and safety will detract from the lives of children far more than any health and safety benefits.

See the full details of the case on the HSE website.

What you can do when faced with the ‘health and safety’ excuse

The Health and Safety Executive have a challenge panel to judge whether the reasoning of health and safety is fair or not.

You can contact the panel here.

Have a health and safety excuse story?

We'd love to hear from you. Leave a comment or send us an email.



Photograph of Laura Holland

Author Bio -

Social Media and Web Content Coordinator, Jan 2014 - May 2015