Case 388 – Council bans Refuse collection workers from wearing Christmas hats

Issue

Refuse collection workers in Colchester have been banned from wearing Christmas hats or anything Christmassy on the grounds of health and safety. The council have stated drivers and other road users could be distracted.

Panel opinion

There is no health and safety legislation that prevents refuse collectors wearing Santa hats or entering the festive spirit with other modest decorations. Excessive displays which might impede the driver’s vision or cause a distraction are another matter, but that doesn’t seem to be the case here. Being sensible about health and safety can still allow everyone to have some fun too

Case 389 – Nightclub refused to serve salt and lemon with Tequila shots

Issue

Bar manager refused to serve salt and lemon with Tequila shots to customers in a nightclub due to health and safety.

Panel opinion

There is no workplace health and safety legislation that prohibits the service of salt and lemon with tequila. This looks like a case of quoting an easy excuse – possibly to cover up poor customer service. The bar should simply serve the drink in the traditional way as requested, and not misuse health and safety legislation in this way.

Myth: Workers are banned from putting up Christmas decorations in the office

Myth: Workers are banned from putting up Christmas decorations in the office

The Reality

Bah Humbug! Each year we hear of companies banning their workers from putting up Christmas decorations in their offices for ‘health and safety’ reasons, or requiring the work to be done by a ‘qualified’ person.
Most organisations including HSE and local councils manage to put up their decorations, celebrating the spirit of Christmas without a fuss. They just sensibly provide their staff with suitable step ladders to put up decorations rather than expecting staff to balance on wheelie chairs.

Older Myths dispelled by the HSE

Older Myths dispelled by the HSE

http://www.hse.gov.uk/myth/mythofthemonth.htm

Myth: Risk assessments must always be long and complex
The Reality:
On its own, paperwork never saved anyone. It is a means to an end, not an end in itself – action is what protects people. So risk assessments should be fit for purpose and acted upon.
OK, if you’re running an oil refinery you’re going to need a fair amount of paperwork. But for most, bullet points work very well indeed.
See what we mean – check out our example risk assessments.

Health & Safety Myths

The Health & Safety Executive has set up the Myth Busters Challenge Panel so as to provide a mechanism for anyone (whether on behalf of a company or organisation, or as an individual), who receives advice or is told that a decision has been taken in the name of health and safety that they believe to be disproportionate or inaccurate, to challenge that advice.

Here are some of the latest cases brought to their attention in September and October 2015.

More information can be found at the HSE web site at: – http://www.hse.gov.uk/myth/index.htm