Employment Law – Health and Safety Urban Myths

The UK Government has set up a panel of “mythbusters” in the light of increasingly outlandish health and safety decisions by councils and insurance companies. The absurd decisions often force employers worried about employment law consequences to take disproportionate and sometimes ridiculous measures to deal with everyday events. As part of the initiative the Health and Safety Executive has launched a “Top Ten” of the most startling such myths.

Coming straight into the top ten at No.10 is “Graduates ordered not to throw their mortar boards in the air”.

The countdown is listed in full below, but the top three of the health and safety hit parade, sees “Trapeze artists being ordered to wear hard hats” avoiding a fall at No.3; while sticking strictly at No.2 is “Office workers being banned from putting up Christmas decorations”. And the No.1 is the blockbuster “Children banned from playing conkers unless they are wearing goggles”!

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 play conkers to know there is no basis in law for such rulings.” If you are worried about employment law ramifications in your organisation the Health and Safety Executive website says: “We want people to work with us to challenge these myths – the time has come to end the madness!” You can find out everything you need to know about this and other health and safety topics on their website.

In the meantime, that Top Ten of Absurd Safety Myths is as follows:
1. Children being banned from playing conkers unless they are wearing goggles
2. Office workers being banned from putting up Christmas decorations
3. Trapeze artists being ordered to wear hard hats
4. Pin the tail on the donkey games being deemed a health and safety risk
5. Candy floss on a stick being banned in case people trip and impale themselves
6. Hanging baskets being banned in case people bump their heads on them
7. Schoolchildren being ordered to wear clip on ties in case they are choked by traditional neckwear
8. Park benches must be replaced because they are three inches too low
9. Flip flops being banned from the workplace
10. Graduates ordered not to throw their mortar boards in the air