Health and Safety Myths
Whenever someone asks a health and safety practitioner what they do for a living, and the words “health and safety” are mentioned, they either get a wall of silence or abuse about “you’re the reason we can’t do this”, or “you have banned that”.
In April 2007, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) created the original Myth of the Month series which ran until December 2010. The HSE attempted to dispel some of the most widely believed health and safety myths during this time.
April 2012 saw the first case for the myth buster panel which was set up to disperse myths and to stop unscrupulous persons hiding behind the ‘health and safety’ banner when they didn’t want to allow something to happen.
Since the start of this campaign and up to March 2015 there have been 356 myths busted.
No trolleys allowed in card shop
All tools on building sites need to be a maximum of 110V
Nappies not to be disposed of in sanitary bins
Parent not allowed to accompany son on a school trip
Takeaway will not allow customers to use their own carrier bags
Council would not supply gardeners with sun screen in case they were allergic
All too often, decisions done in the name of health and safety have not been made by people in the profession. Health and safety in the UK, as a result of someone over-reacting, has developed a bad reputation. Click on the picture on the right to see where Health and safety myths originated from across the UK.
Media reports such as a school banning triangular flapjacks that might injure someone when thrown, or schools banning conkers on ‘health & safety’ grounds with some making children wear goggles doesn’t help the real health and safety situation.
By continuing to highlight health and safety as being all about overzealous bureaucracy, the people who need to know what they need to do become cynical and put people’s lives at risk.
While some of the extreme cases of health and safety we read about in the media may seem over the top, ultimately negligence costs lives and health and safety at all levels and is no laughing matter. Following regulations can prevent needless injuries and loss of lives.
According to the HSE during 2013/14, 1.2 million working people suffered from a work-related illness, 133 were killed at work and 77,593 other injuries to employees were reported under RIDDOR.
There were 551 prosecutions by HSE, with 88 prosecutions by Local authorities in England and Wales, and 35 prosecutions by the Procurator Fiscal in Scotland.
With a total of 13,790 enforcement notices being issued by all enforcing authorities.
These shocking statistics highlight the importance of health and safety regulations within the UK.
Health and safety is all about sensible risk management – managing real risks. It is not about making people risk averse or preventing people from having fun. Even health and safety practitioners like to have fun and enjoy themselves. Professional risk management organisations are fighting back.
If you would like to know more about how we can help with health, safety, environmental, fire and asbestos.
Responseline is Santia's information service which provides technical interpretation, practical advice and answers across all the disciplines in which Santia operates. These include health, safety, environmental and fire.
Click here to visit the Health and Safety Myth Busters panel.
Post date: 19 Apr 2015
Back to listing