There's no doubt that people have a poor image of Health and Safety. We're always hearing about how it's ruined an office party, stopped an event going ahead or closed down an event for apparently ridiculous reasons. However H&S is rarely the problem here, it's usually because people are generally lazy.
For example, the HSE has been compiling their list of H&S myths for a while now so I decided to look at the last three for reference. Here's one:
Issue Enquirer’s regular supermarket online delivery driver says he can no longer carry shopping upstairs due to health and safety issues. Enquirer understands that delivery people must be careful and wouldn't want anyone to hurt themselves...
Really? Well it turns out "no". The supermarkets have been trialling different delivery methods, probably due to time constraints and wanting to get the best value, it has nothing to do with safety.
However you can imagine the driver simply saying it because it's easy.
How about this one:
Issue A university has covered hot air vents with anti-homeless cages citing health & safety reasons. Panel decision Whilst there may be some small health risks eg from carbon monoxide exposure in the exhaust gases...
This one turns out to have a bit more to it. It seems there has been an issue with homeless people sleeping on the vents because of the warm air coming through. The university was worried that the fumes could cause problems, so they installed the cages.
But is it a "Health & Safety" issue? Well it seems that excuse is again trotted out lazily. It doesn't involve the HSE, it's a decision by the university (and the merits of that are open to further discussion).
And finally, the most bizzare:
Issue Enquirer was travelling on a coach when the driver made an announcement that he could not turn off two small LED overhead lights due to health and safety reasons. There were still blue LED...
The mind boggles as to what the reasons could be. I can only guess he's thinking about when all the lights should be on and shutters up on aircraft when landing.
Why is this an issue?
Health and Safety is a serious issue and the HSE and its policies have saved thousands of lives. By trivialising it and using it for every excuse possible, it makes people think that it's an over-bearing and unwieldy but of red tape that gets in the way.
We take H&S very seriously and our training programmes are ideal for all people dealing with lifting, hydraulics and in the rail industry. Let us help you separate the good stuff from the myth.
- “Case 329 - Online delivery driver no longer able to carry shopping upstairs” · Nov. 11, 2014 · Www.hse.gov.uk
- “Case 330 - University’s hot air vents covered with anti-homeless cages” · Nov. 11, 2014 · Www.hse.gov.uk
- “Case 331 - Coach driver unable to turn off inside overhead lights” · Nov. 11, 2014 · Www.hse.gov.uk