'elf and safety put in its place

The health and safety executive has set up a ‘Myth Busters Challenge Panel’ where people, shocked at decisions made in the name of health and safety, can challenge them. An opinion from the regulator is going to carry some weight! You can read some of the latest cases at:


They are quite fun to flick through, especially if you are feeling a bit masochistic. My favourite from the latest batch:

Case 403 – husband not allowed to stand up during his wife’s pregnancy scan for health and safety reasons.

Case 390 – family told by undertaker that shoes are not allowed on deceased’s body for funeral …on H&S grounds

And as a keen swimmer,

Case 394 – Tumble turns banned from Council run swimming pool for health and safety reasons

When you first look at these they do seem inappropriate and would get my back up too.

However, on reading further, there may be a good reason why these decisions have been made, through often not based on health and safety. They could all have been better explained rather than giving a blanket, seemingly nonsensical ban. As always, how you communicate a rule, so that people understand why it is there, is much more likely to get it followed. Thinking that ‘health and safety’ is an easy way out to get what you want with minimal effort is unlikely to work and downright disrespectful.

Proactively believes that good H&S is about managing real risks properly, not being completely risk averse so that people can’t get on with their lives. You are likely to see a more pragmatic view and workable solution if it is the people doing the job that identify hazards. Proactively encourages everyone to get involved with Hazard Spotting. You might still get the odd ‘myth’. In this case, the reviewer decides whether it is sensible and proportionate; and is able to decline it with a good reason. The aim is always to make your workplace safer.