Has health and safety really gone mad? Does Europe really make all our laws? There have been many reports of HSE, and health and safety law, being responsible for banning all sorts of things. For example, flip flops at work, knitting in hospitals, school sports days, a charity Christmas swim and even cuddly toys on dustbin lorries.
In November 2007, it was widely believed that the HSE had banned workers from putting up Christmas decorations in the office. Last month’s myth of the month stated that health and safety laws had banned bonfires. Other well circulated HSE myths include forbidding children to play conkers and a ban on hanging baskets.
Actually, HSE has banned very little outright, apart from a very few high-risk exceptions (e.g. asbestos which kills over 4,000 individuals a year). HSE believes that health and safety should be about taking practical steps to manage real risks, not bureaucracy leading to the banning of everyday activities.
The British press is also responsible for spreading a wide range of ‘Euromyths’. This year they have told us that the ACRE is to be banned from 2010, combine harvesters can’t be used on wet soil and even suggested that the EU has a plan to abolish Britain!
Both the HSE and the EU have myth busting websites set up to dispel these ideas. Enjoy a laugh reading some of the things they have been unfairly blamed for!
Then cheer us all up by sharing the seemingly crazy ‘laws’ that you have heard. Are they really fact or fiction?