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The Top 10 Health and Safety Myths

September 26, 2018

The Top 10 Health and Safety Myths

Everyone has their own opinions on health and safety. There’s a sensationalist headline every day about ‘health and safety gone mad’ and some story about the powers that be banning conkers, so that’s why the Health and Safety Executive wanted to set people straight. They’ve published a list of health and safety myths on their website, and here’s the top 10.

Myth #1 A general handyman can fix gas appliances

No, this isn’t true. Anyone who deals with gas appliances must be on the Gas Safe Register. It is both dangerous and against the law for someone who is not registered to work with gas. If gas appliances aren’t fitted or repaired properly, it can cause carbon monoxide poisoning, gas leaks, fires and explosions. Gas Safe engineers will always carry ID which confirms they are on the register.

Myth #2 There’s not much you can do about slips and falls, and not many people get seriously hurt

Actually, most slips and falls can be prevented, and the cause is usually spillages that aren’t cleaned up or clutter that hasn’t been tidied away properly. Slips and trips have caused recorded fatalities, and thousands of people suffer broken bones and need time off work, which costs the economy hundreds of millions of pounds.

Myth #3 The Health and Safety Executive just want to ban everything!

This is not true and many reports are sensationalised to sell papers. The truth is that there are very few things that have been banned completely. Asbestos is a good example of something that has been banned outright, but this is because it kills around 4000 people every year.

People need to focus on real risks that cause illness, injury and death, rather than the trivial things that are easier to make light of.

Myth #4  You don’t need to secure a load if you’re only driving down the road

Nope, sorry you still have to secure any load in your vehicle. Loads that haven’t been secured can increase the chance that the vehicle will rollover, or that your load will spill. By driving with an unsecured load, you’re risking the safety of other drivers as well as your own. Over 1200 people are injured as a result of unsafe loads every year and millions of pounds worth of goods are damaged.

Myth #5 Health and Safety chiefs have advised that kids stop playing pin the tail on the donkey

This is either a headline to sell newspapers or a clever marketing ploy, but the Health and Safety Executive say that not trusting children with drawing pins is a little over the top. After all, kids have played party games for years with no problems.

Myth #6  Health and Safety says no to candy floss!

Some newspapers sported headlines about candyfloss being banned because of the risk of being injured by the stick it’s spun on. This is not true, and you can buy it in bags if you’re really worried!

Myth #7 The Health and Safety Executive ban school ties

This is another fallacy. Kids have been wearing ties to school for years without problems. Of course, kids should be careful if they’re working in the science lab and don’t want to fall foul of a Bunsen burner, but aside from that, the tie should live on.

Myth #8 Risk assessment is too complicated

Risk assessment shouldn’t be too hard if you focus on what could really harm your employees and don’t get too lost in trivial details. It’s about identifying a problem and taking action to find a solution-simple!

Myth #9  Health and safety means bye bye to bunting

There’s nothing stopping you having bunting at your wedding or village fete, just have some common sense. You can only control risk, not eliminate it completely. And the Health and Safety Executive are there to keep you safe, they aren’t the fun police!

Myth #10  Health and safety has gone mad

Headlines about health and safety gone made include stories about conkers being banned, excessive safety signs, and the banning of some traditional kids’ party games. Real health and safety is not about the minute details, it’s about keeping people safe and reducing risks, particularly at work. Health and safety is all about saving people’s lives, not imposing draconian restrictions.