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HSE calls for New Year resolution on health and safety blame game

45% of health and safety myths were down to poor customer service - image

The Health and Safety Executive wants businesses that provide customer service to turn over a new leaf and stop blaming health and safety for poor or over-the-top decisions.

The regulator launched its 40th anniversary year with a call to stop the culture of blaming anything and everything on non-existent ‘health and safety’ rules.

Retail and leisure businesses feature prominently in new research (published today) by the University of Exeter, which reveals half of all cases put to HSE’s Myth Busters Challenge Panel came from shops, cafes and leisure centres.

Traditionally January is a time when people want to get fitter, healthier, or take advantage of the sales. However, customers are being left increasingly frustrated by ridiculous decisions made in the name of health and safety, more often than not to cover up what is simply poor customer service.

According to the independent research four main groups of people bear the brunt of health and safety myths are consumers (32%), children (20%); employees (13%) and citizens accessing public services (12%). The impact on children is significant, Dr Dunlop explains:“Children are frequently being prevented from engaging in activities in educational or leisure settings on the grounds of health and safety that are found to be baseless.  Play related concerns such as the ban on playing conkers is well known. This form of overzealous protection fits into the largest category (32%) of cases which are everyday objects, such as spills from hot or cold drinks play related fears and ladders. Over a fifth are related to children or dealing with hygiene, animals or issues such as drugs.”


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