Health and safety: the top 5 myths

Health and safety: the top 5 myths

Posted on Oct 29, 2016

Health and safety: the top 5 myths

We love a great story here at flick (it just so happens to be one of our golden rules of great e-learning), and there’s nothing more entertaining than a tale of health and safety gone wild! We’ve searched high and low for some of the best health and safety stories, so let’s start our ‘five of the best’ countdown.


1. The school leaver’s party


A school leaver’s party that was organised by parents in a village hall stated that 'one parent per child must attend the party – due to health & safety reasons'.

What did the HSE say?

“There is no work activity involved here: it’s simply a party organised by volunteers, so workplace health and safety legislation does not apply. But, it’s their party and they can cry if they want to set their own ground rules if they want to.”




2. The dummy café ban


A mother and her baby were asked to leave a café as the manager had banned the use of dummies for young children and babies for health and safety reasons.

What did the HSE say?

“Health and safety at work legislation does not stop babies using dummies in cafés. This appears to be the café’s company policy. The café should clearly explain the reason behind their policy rather than dumbing down the issue and blaming health and safety.”



3. To plug, or not to plug?


A Council-run library stated they will not let visitors plug their laptops into the electrical outlets because of a risk of tripping or in case of faulty plugs.

What did the HSE say?

“The council and library seem to have got their wires well and truly crossed in this case as both the potential problems appear to have been well under control. Restricting the charging of the laptop can’t be justified on health and safety grounds in these circumstances.”



4. Banned from using antibacterial wipes


An employee at a car washing company was advised that using antibacterial wipes to clean inside vehicles could in fact lead to the development of a ‘superbug’, and therefore he should use an alternate method to clean them.

What did the HSE say?

“Superbugs are a real cause for concern for everyone, but the use of chemical disinfectants in antibacterial wipes is not going to make the situation worse when used correctly. The advice on the use of antibacterial wipes is to use one wipe per surface and then discard to avoid potentially spreading any bacteria to other surfaces. They are effective for the purpose being proposed, and seem like a sensible choice.”


5. The pub that blew out the birthday candles


A family took a birthday cake to the pub they were celebrating in, and asked the landlord to bring it out for the lucky person after their dinner – and to include candles that spelt ‘happy birthday’. However, the poor customers were told that they could not have all the candles on it for… you guessed it; ‘health and safety reasons’.

What did the HSE say?

“What a party pooper! There are no health and safety reasons why the correct number of candles cannot be put on a birthday cake. Perhaps the cake wasn't big enough or they didn't have enough candles but using the old ‘elf n safety’ excuse has probably ensured no further happy returns to this particular establishment.”


Proper training prevents… poor excuses.

Health and safety shouldn’t be a reason to stop a birthday celebration or ruin a party. If we’re sensible about health and safety – and put the correct safety measures into practice, there’s no reason to stop fun or make up a ridiculous rule.


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