Attempt to set the record straight on health and safety legislation
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said that some firms were eager to blame “anything and everything” on non-existent legislation.
Often the laws were used as an excuse for the company’s own shortcomings.
On other occasions, problems arose because businesses were genuinely terrified about the prospect of being sued and tended to overreact.
This “risk averse” culture was often compounded by the fact that staff had received limited training about what laws they needed to adhere to.
At the start of 2015, HSE is trying to raise awareness about the actual responsibilities that companies have under health and safety legislation, while trying to debunk a few popular misconceptions at the same time.
Mark Harper, from the Department for Work and Pensions, said: “Elf n’ safety myths get in the way of what the law is for – saving lives, not stopping people living them.”
Members of the legal profession have previously voiced concerns that the more ludicrous cases involving health and safety – including the recent example of a chip shop which banned customers from adding their own salt and vinegar – may actually have dangerous consequences.
The fear is that over-the-top restrictions will undermine confidence in legislation which is actually very important, particularly since not all companies are able to easily distinguish between good practice and scaremongering.