The ‘Sorry, no dogs’ sign is a common appearance in the windows of many cafés, restaurants, pubs, and shops throughout the country. What is less well known, however, is that their showing has no basis in law, and is in fact a decision taken entirely by the establishment or company.
Accidents in public can, of course, be both extremely painful and crushingly embarrassing. It is no surprise, therefore, that there are numerous health and safety laws regarding the prevention of slips trips and falls, and other public accidents.
Owners of areas such as shops and cafés have a duty of care towards their customers in terms of taking steps to minimise the threat of public injuries.
However, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) also take steps to try and ensure that the blanket of health and safety regulations is neither misunderstood by the public, nor abused and taken advantage of by officious staff looking for a convenient excuse.
Part of this myth-busting drive was a report into what the HSE called ‘crackpot cases.’ Released in the early months of 2013, the report included a tale of a man and his pet dog.Open Claim Calculator
What happened in the pet dog story?
Essentially, the owner of a café refused to allow a customer to bring his pet dog into the establishment.
When the customer enquired as to why that decision had been made, the café owner cited ‘health and safety’ as justification.
What do the HSE say?
Reporting on the incident, the HSE made clear that no specific regulations regarding the prevention of dogs entering cafés, restaurants, and the like, exist.
What was the real reason then?
Rather then the threat of public accidents, it is far more likely that the pet dog was barred for hygiene reasons. Also, many eateries have fears regarding badly behaved dogs ruining the experience for other diners. Exceptions are usually made for guide dogs.
Why didn’t the owner say that?
Sometimes, the health and safety excuse is used simply for convenience. It enables the staff member to pass the blame onto legislature, when in fact, often, no such rule exists.
It is important that genuine threats to safety in public places are eradicated wherever possible, and that victims of public trips and falls receive the public accident compensation they deserve.
Accident Advice Helpline offers a Freephone service on 0800 689 0500 for initial consultation over the strength and validity of a public accident claim.