Experts throw out ‘bizarre’ health and safety excuses

A ban on paperclips in an office and the cancellation of a custard pie fight were among hundreds of issues reported to health and safety myth busters.

The Department of Work and Pensions announced on 25 March that more than 600 people had approached the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) Myth Busters Challenge Panel in its first three years after being told that health and safety stopped them from doing something. To date, more than 350 cases have been considered and the HSE’s findings published on its website.

In the vast majority of cases, the HSE panel confirmed that health and safety regulations did not require the activity to be banned.

Work and Pensions Minister Lord Freud said: “People have had enough of bizarre health and safety excuses. For too long businesses have been consumed by red tape and confusion, often feeling they needed to go beyond the requirements of the law, but it’s never been easier to understand the rules and make the right choice, without diluting protection for workers.”

Other issues raised with the HSE panel included the cancellation of a school production because the lighting operator had not attended a ladder training course and sheep and cow droppings in a field preventing a Scout group from camping.

Meanwhile, a report published on 24 March revealed that the HSE had reduced health and safety legislation overall by 50 per cent.

The report said: “Business response to these reforms has been strongly positive and they have been achieved without reducing health and safety protection for workers.

“Most recently, the passage of the Deregulation Act 2015 has put in place the final piece of the jigsaw. It provides the next government with the means to exempt from health and safety law some 1.8 million self-employed jobs in occupations that present no potential risk to others.”

Link: Myth Busters Challenge Panel findings