Health and Safety Consultancy Services for SMEs in Birmingham, West Midlands and beyond

An England Flag – a Safety Risk!? 5 Health & Safety Myths Debunked
Posted by David Cant on June 30, 2014
1 Comment

5 Health and Safety Myths, BUSTED!

Health and Safety MythsOk, we know maybe not everyone shares our passion for Health & Safety,

Which is why we always try to make it simple, straight-forward, hands-free and dare I say… fun, for our clients.

And we do wish more companies would take it seriously, for the sake of their workers and their wallets.

But every now and then there are rather over-zealous health and safety cases that make even us chuckle.  There can be a fine line between what’s reasonable and safe… and what’s a step too far.

And it is always worth knowing where that line is, and what the real rules are – something we’re always happy to help you with.

What do you think about these five cases – sensible precaution?  Or a little over-the-top;

  1. Builder quits after being told to take down England World Cup flags

A builder in London put up England flags on scaffolding on a brand new complex of 691 flats, so high they could be seen for miles around.  The homebuilding company told him to take them down, as they posed a health and safety risk.

Do you think they went a little too far?  The HSE thought so.

  1. Keep your trousers on!

A building site gave a worker some plastic waterproof trousers to put over his shorts, and banned shorts from the site in general.

The HSE’s verdict?  Well, trousers are only really necessary when personal protective equipment is required, like working with wet cement.  Otherwise, shorts are harmless in this hot weather.

What do you think?

  1. Too many operators in the kitchen

A contractor insisted on all routine repetitive lifting operations with loader cranes being directly supervised at all times by an extra person to the operator.

The problem here is not trusting that the load operator is well-qualified and competent enough to do the work safely.  If this is in doubt, the answer isn’t to have them watched at all times, it’s to train or replace them.

Would you agree?

  1. In-house Health & Safety training deemed not good enough

Here’s an interesting one.

A company going after a contract to maintain coffee machines was turned down because their health and safety training was done in-house instead of by a recognized accredited trainer.

So, can in-house training be good enough?

For something like coffee machine maintenance, in-house training which has been shown to be equivalent to the accredited training is fine.  Although it’s commendable for large contractors to be very careful about their sub-contractor’s health and safety standards.

  1. Maintenance firm exaggerates how  often maintenance is really needed

A maintenance company told domestic owners of some electric gates it’s mandatory to have them serviced at least once a year.

No such requirement exists.  And this is where it pays to know the rules and regs, so you don’t blindly do too much just because a contractor says you should.

If in doubt, ask the HSE. Or get in touch with us; we’re always happy to talk.

Do you have any stories of health & safety taken too far?

Or are you not sure where the line is on any issue?

Share and we’ll give you our thoughts!


Director at Veritas Consulting. The SME's favourite go-to consultant for health and safety know-how. Bucket loads of experience. Fluent in practical advice. Solutionist with a brain you can pick.

You can find him across Social media - Twitter and Facebook also Linkedin

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One Comment

  1. February 1, 2016 at 7:22 am

    A number of years ago I was working on a site where a tree needed to be removed. I ventured that I would remove it. The project manager insisted we get a lumberjack outfit to carry out the work. Enter a gang of ninja turtles with a vast array of ropes and harnesses and chain saws. On climbing the tree the first ninja came hurtling to the ground with the chain saw on full throttle due to the lack of engagement with wood. His injuries were slight but needed hospital treatment. I questioned the project manager on the wisdom of his decision. He sagely replied that if it had been me that fell out of the tree, He would of been in very hot water indeed. The fact that the accident happened to a qualified wood butcher relieved him of any responsibility. Ho Hum.

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