Minister Targets Health & Safety Jobsworths
Work and Pensions minister Mike Penning has written to local authorities urging them to use a common sense approach in decisions around health and safety. The move comes after a number of prominent cases hit the headlines including the six-year-old who was prevented from bringing her pet chick to school due to concerns over bird flu and the local authority that banned loose flowerpots in its graveyards.
Over 300 cases have been reported to the Health and Safety Executive’s myth busters challenge panel which looks at decisions using health and safety to stop what it terms ‘sensible activities’ going ahead. HSE Chair Judith Hackett, who heads the panel of 13 experts, is fully behind Mr Penning’s approach, saying, “I would urge all decision-makers to take a step back and ask themselves whether a decision made in the name of health and safety, is actually just an excuse for something else. Real health and safety is about protecting people in the workplace from life and health-threatening risks.”
Health and Safety may not be entirely to blame for a number of cases though, as it was reported earlier this year that schools in London, Manchester and Birmingham paid out over £3.3 million in compensation to parents after children were injured in their care.
You can view the HSE Myth Busters website here