Picture: Ben Birchall - WPA Pool/Getty Images
Picture: Ben Birchall - WPA Pool/Getty Images

Happy UN World Health and Safety Day!

Some health and safety rules have been successes. Things like stopping children from working down mines and giving goggles to steel workers come to mind.

The Health and Safety Executive have also been trying to mythbust some of the more persistent ones:

Last year over 150 health and safety decisions have been ruled as unnecessary by the executive. Here are some of the most ridiculous things officials have banned in the name of safety:

  1. In 2010 Royal Mail told postal workers in Devon that they didn’t need to deliver to homes that were on cobbled streets during wet weather.

  2. Last November a blind girl from Bristol was banned by her school from using her walking cane because it was considered a trip hazard.

  3. In 2015 the University of Birmingham banned Classics graduands from throwing their mortar boards in the air.

  4. More ridiculously, in January of this year British soldiers were told they could no longer fire actual mortars during training because even with ear defenders the sound of the explosion breached the 137 decibel limit.

  5. Mangos, kiwis, chocolate, and nuts, were banned from home lunch boxes because of worries over allergic reactions from staff.

    This raises an important question. What poor child is being forced to bring a fruit salad in their lunch box?

  6. A ban at three Butlins resorts has been brought against Dodgems/Bumper cars that are found to be “bumping”. There are no words.

  7. Glasses with handles banned in pubs. This was one of the many rules overturned by the Health and Safety Executive.

  8. A pregnant woman was asked to get off of a bus in Chesterfield after fears the two tins of paint she was carrying might leak and cause a slipping hazard.

  9. During the last solar eclipse a primary school in Cardiff banned pupils from watching, even though they’d been given guidance on how to safely look at the eclipse.

  10. In Colchester Rubbish collectors were banned by the Council from wearing Santa hats in case they distracted other road users.

  11. A bar manager refused to serve salt and lemon to customers buying Tequila. Which is fine because everyone knows Tequila tastes better neat.

The Health and Safety Executive are quick to point out that lots of things banned on the grounds of "health and safety" are done without their authority, and sometimes safety is just an excuse when schools and councils don’t want to hold an event.

Chair of the HSE Judith Hackett has said:

It's really important that we are all ready to challenge stupid decisions made in the name of health and safety, and that we as the regulator give the public the confidence to do so.

The HSE even has a panel set up for you to challenge the more bizarre health and safety rules.

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