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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Author Bio - Laura Holland
Social Media and Web Content Coordinator, Jan 2014 - May 2015