I hope the last Topic of the Week on  PREVENT stimulated some interesting debates?  Moving onto more common ground let’s explore Health & Safety at work!

H&S is a well understood subject so perhaps we can talk about whether leaner’s believe it is actually important or just something we have to do!  Some questions you could use to start the conversation at your next session.

  • Is it really important in and office, classroom, ……… environment?
  • Isn’t it real just for construction and manufacturing?
  • Have you ever read an organisations H&S policy?
  • Do you think the world has gone H&S mad?

In the news

Staff ‘sacked after voicing health and safety concerns’

The tribunals found the three staff members had been unfairly dismissed.

Health & Safety Executive – “The reality”

There are few greater myths than that health and safety has gone mad. During the last four years we’ve debunked some truly ridiculous misrepresentations of health and safety, including the banning of conkers, firemen’s poles and park benches. We’ve scotched scare stories about excessive safety signs, rebutted rumours about onerous risk assessments and kicked back at claims that kids need to be wrapped in cotton wool.

HSE publishes advice setting out the sensible and proportionate steps we can all take to deal with workplace risks properly – health and safety is about saving lives, not stopping them.


But some news stories, or myths:

  1. Employees at the Health and Safety Executive have been banned from moving furniture, including their own chairs, on the remote chance that they may cause themselves injury. If they want something moved, they are required to book a porter and wait up to two days for it to happen! There really isn’t any more to say about this.
  2. Postman has refused to deliver a couple’s mail in the morning… because he’s scared to cross the road.  Royal Mail bosses have backed him on health and safety grounds.
  3. A five year old at a local school refused to come down from a tree he had climbed. But instead of helping, staff at the school decided to follow strict guidelines and left him hovering just over 6ft off the ground to ‘observe from a distance’!   How, in any way, would this help? It wasn’t until 45 minutes later a passer-by Kim Barrett noticed the stranded child and  helped him down! The school reported Miss Barrett to the police on the grounds of trespassing!
  4. A quiet Bedfordshire market town the local fire brigade help out with the annual street party by taking down the decorations and bunting.  This year the local health and safety council strongly advised that the fire brigade should not take down the year’s bunting, banning the use of ladders as it was deemed too dangerous.
  5. An employee with a large executive company car loaned it to his wife and came to work in her somewhat aged Ford Fiesta. During the day the employee needed to make a visit on behalf of the company and decided to use the Fiesta. During the journey the brakes failed and the driver was killed. The wife is currently suing the employer for allowing the driver to use an unsafe vehicle on company business.
  6. The Transport Management was asked by a young man aged 21, the value of the grade of car to which he would be entitled in his new position. On receiving the information he asked for a Subaru Impretza WRX as his new car. This was refused on the grounds of his inexperience. He then approached the Human Resources department as the company had a “cash for cars policy” and therefore opted out of the company car scheme and took the “own vehicle” payment scheme with which he obtained the Subaru Impretza. Sadly three weeks later he was killed in a high-speed crash. The bereaved family successfully sued the company, resulting in a considerable out of court settlement.
  7. Hundreds of spectators booed as St Albans City Council Tourism Manager Charles Baker announced the precautions at the beginning of the race.  He said: “We have a new set of rules today. Due to the wet weather conditions and health and safety regulations, in this year’s race, there will be no running allowed. Only walking is permitted. Any team that runs will be disqualified.

Maybe just a little bit of fun but every myth has an element of truth in it.