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Health And Safety Myths

Dame Judith Hackett CBE, the previous head of the Health and Safety Executive, was responsible for trying to stop all the stupid health and safety myths that exist.

The Health and Safety at Work act is often misquoted, mainly by the press, to explain why someone or some organisations failed in their duties or why organisations cannot do simple things like putting up Christmas decorations etc. In fact, the Act does not specify how we should run our working lives to the extent that many people believe. 

In order to overcome the myths surrounding the act, the Health and Safety Executive have published a whole series of leaflets and posters over the last few years to explain some of the many falsehoods that surround the act. This is a quote from the HSE's web site.

"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.

This trivialisation concerns us. It confuses businesses about their responsibilities and workers about their rights. HSE publishes advice setting out the sensible and proportionate steps we can all take to deal with workplace risks properly.

As we retire the myth of the month series, let us leave you with one thought - health and safety is about saving lives, not stopping them".

You can catch up with all the published myths and through the Myth Busters Challenge Panel, you can challenge advice or decisions made in the name of health and safety that you believe are disproportionate or legally inaccurate here