Most bizarre health & safety cases: No woolly hats for London Underground cleaners

One of the key steps to avoiding accidents at work is to ensure that all members of staff are appropriately dressed for the job at hand.

Whether this requires hard hats and high-visibility jackets to avoid accidents on construction sites, or Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) when dealing with hazardous substances, being dressed for the occasion can go a long way towards keeping safe at work.

Equally, there are certain things that shouldn’t be worn in order to avoid workplace injuries. However, woolly hats for cleaners on London’s underground train network is not one of them.

What the HSE thinks about this London Underground rule

In fact, the suggestion that these items are banned is just one of many health and safety myths that the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has moved to dispel in recent times.

The idea that cleaners were not allowed to wear woolly hats was named on a strongly-titled list of ‘crackpot cases’ released by the HSE as they sought to put the public perception of certain elements of health and safety at work right.

The HSE said that there are no regulations that prohibit cleaners from wearing woolly hats, adding that if employers had a concern about the hats impairing the hearing of workers, or simply had a company uniform policy outlawing them, then it ought to be properly explained.

In fact, the HSE advocated that wearing woolly hats to guard against the cold actually seemed an eminently sensible thing to do, as it would help guard against illnesses at work.

The much-used argument of ‘health and safety gone mad’ is something that the HSE often have to rail against. Judith Hackitt, chair of the organisation, had this to say upon release of the ‘crackpot cases’ list:

‘The reality is that people hide behind ‘health and safety’ when there are other reasons for what they’re doing…It’s time for them to own up to their real motives.’

Often, all bizarre rumours such as this tend to do is distract from the very serious issue of accidents at work. The consequences of workplace injuries can be enormously damaging for the victim in both a physical and emotional sense.

Therefore, if you suffer injuries at work, it’s important to remember that help is available. Accident Advice Helpline have a proven track record, stretching back over 13 years, of helping injured workers win the industrial accident compensation they deserve on a no-win, no-fee* basis.

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