Construction Health and Safety Consultancy and CDM Adviser Services

The Health And Safety Myth Busters
Posted by David Cant on May 23, 2013

mythbustersLet’s be honest, Health and Safety doesn’t always get a good press. It’s a rare week that we don’t come across an article in the news about an apparently ludicrous and unnecessary application of health and safety rules and regulations.

The problem is though that invariably these claims are utter nonsense, and have nothing at all to do with health and safety.

These days it seems that you can often make up any old nonsense, stick a health and safety label on it, and people will go along with it, albeit with a dose of grumbling.

No, sorry, you can’t have an extra napkin, it’s health and safety. Sorry, you can’t have our direct telephone number, it’s health and safety. Sorry, you can’t have the window open on a hot sunny day, it’s health and safety.

Actually, it’s utter drivel. Fortunately, and not a lot of people realise this, there’s a crack team of professionals over at the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) whose job it is to bust these myths and expose the scams and false claims which people are using. In today’s post we thought we’d share a few of the recent bogus health and safety scams which have been brought to the attention of the Health and Safety Myth Busters.

Tap Water Refused On ‘Health And Safety’ Grounds

A customer at a cinema asked for a glass of tap water, but was refused, and told instead that bottled water was available. The reason why the tap water was refused? Health and safety, apparently.

The HSE’s Myth Busters soon cracked this one open, revealing the cinema actually had a free water dispenser available! This looks more like an attempt to make more money than safeguard customers’ health.

Hairdryers Banned For Drying

One gym stuck up a notice in the changing rooms stating that the hairdryers were only allowed to be used to dry hair on the head, due to health and safety legislation.

The HSE looked into this one, pointing out that there was absolutely no legislation banning the use of hairdryers for drying anywhere other than hair on the head. It seems that the gym just didn’t like people using the dryers ‘inappropriately’ in a public place, and hid behind fabricated health and safety rules rather than being honest.

Milk In Coffee Banned Due To Health And Safety

One customer recently visited her local coffee chain and asked for semi skimmed milk in her coffee. She was told that they didn’t sell semi-skimmed milk, only skimmed or full fat. She asked if they could serve half and half, combining a dash of full fat with a dash of skimmed, as other branches had done.

She was told that no, she couldn’t, because health and safety had advised them that they couldn’t.

Again, the HSE’s Myth Busting team looked into it, and noted that there was absolutely no reason why milk couldn’t be served this way, ruling that the coffee chain should stop hiding behind made up health and safety rules and explain what the real reason was for their decision.

Need advice on health and safety? Not sure which regulations need to be applied, and which are purely myths? Don’t risk making a mistake, or a false assumption. Call one of  Veritas Consulting Health and Safety Consultants on 0800 1488 677.


David Cant is a Chartered Safety and Health Practitioner extraordinaire. He has a wealth of Industry experience and is the MD of Veritas Consulting. David also Blogs about Health and Safety here Health and Safety Consultants

His aim is to flavour Health and Safety with integrity, served with a side of humour You can find David on - Twitter and Google also Linkedin

This post has been filed in: Health and Safety, Health and Safety Consultancy, Health and Safety Services

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