Personal Injury Solicitor Tracey Graham explains how she was intrigued yet disappointed to read that more health & safety excuses are made in London and the South East than any other part of the UK according to a new study from the Health & Safety Executive (HSE)....
Cases reported to the HSE's Myth Busters Challenge apparently included a case of cleaners banned from wearing woolly hats in the winter, office workers banned from putting up Christmas decorations, and children told to wear goggles to play conkers.
The HSE said that more than 50 cases were reported in the South over the past year, twice as many as the next worst region, Yorkshire, with Wales and the Highlands of Scotland receiving the fewest complaints.
Some of the worst examples in the London area included a department store restaurant refusing to serve eggs in a full English breakfast for fear of a pan fire, and an airline flying out of Heathrow blaming health & safety for not giving boiled sweets to passengers with earache.
Judith Hackitt, who chairs the HSE, has said: "It's becoming increasingly clear just how many petty jobsworths there are hiding behind health & safety for fear of being sued or because they simply can't be bothered."
Whilst perhaps mildly amusing, these bogus excuses do nothing more than detract from the serious nature of Health & Safety Claims. Workplace regulations are there for a reason, and companies who do not act sensibly make it difficult in the workplace for employees to do their jobs safely. A considered response to health & safety is always what is required, and companies who do take health & safety seriously have a more contented work force and a safer working environment.
Too easily do we see here the impact of a failure to address sensibly the health and welfare of employees. In this 21st century, there are too many injuries and deaths from unsafe work practices where the effects on families are devastating. Lawyers are here to help, but as we come to the close of 2013, we echo the HSE’s call for employers to review work practices and take greater care of their workforce by a sensible and measured consideration of risks; not blanket bans on everything for the sake of compliance.