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HSE tell JOBWORTH what to do

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HSE: Tell 'health and safety' jobsworths to pull the other one

A panel set up to expose ‘health and safety’ excuses has clocked up 150 cases in its first year – helping the public fight back against jobsworths who use safety laws as a convenient ruse to ban legitimate activities.

Health and Safety Executive Chair Judith Hackitt, who heads a team of experts that rules on cases when ‘health and safety’ is suspected of being cited for bogus reasons, has called for those making daft decisions to own up to their real motives.

Among the more crackpot cases exposed as myths by the panel in 2013 alone were:

  • The bars that refuse to pull pints in glasses with handles
  • The burger that could not be cooked rare
  • The toothpicks removed from the table of a restaurant
  • The shredded paper banned from a school fete’s lucky dip stall
  • The cot bed that could not be made up by a hotel chamber maid

Evidence of the panel’s power emerges with another case study when, after being told the experts had ruled that banning a bubbles machine from a birthday party was health and safety humbug, the venue backed down and let the bubbles blow.

Judith Hackitt said:

"We never cease to be amazed by the cases we consider.

"Why on earth do people think that they can get away with banning pint glasses with handles, bubbles at a birthday party, or burgers served anything other than well done, claiming they are a health and safety hazard? The reality is that people hide behind ‘health and safety’ when there are other reasons for what they’re doing – fear of being sued perhaps, or bad customer service. It’s time for them to own up to their real motives.


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