HSE challenges the health and safety blame game

by Adrian Waters

HSE challenges the health and safety blame game

by Adrian Waters - 05/03/2013


Most liability insurance customers take all necessary precautions to limit risk and keep their employees and the public safe. However, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) continues to battle those companies and individuals who use regulations as an excuse for bad customer service.

It's important that the public and employees respect health and safety laws which are there to protect them. But it's decidedly unhelpful when newspapers continue to report on barmy decisions by shops, councils and businesses which are based on incorrect interpretations of health and safety laws. In the last month alone headlines have included toasters being removed from hospitals and beanie hats being banned at ice rinks.

However, the daftest rule so far has to be last week's story concerning involving a chemist's shop. The store decided to remove the tissues used to wipe off tester make-up because they were a health and safety risk due to their proximity to fluorescent lights. A customer complained to the HSE who investigated and found that customer service had been negatively affected by the decision.

The HSE ruled that this was a case of 'tackling the symptom not the cause'. If the lights were so hot that they posed a fire risk, that should have been looked at, not the position of the tissues. As the HSE battles for a world where health and safety regulations coincide with common sense, businesses should protect their employees or the public without babying them.

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