Warning to firms over safety myths

Some firms have introduced bizarre health and safety guidance in a bid to prevent accidents at work, experts have said.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found one company had completed a risk assessment for using a tape measure, while another produced written guidelines for walking up stairs.

The HSE has produced free online tools and guidelines to help employers avoid such unnecessary actions.

Health and safety myths

A survey carried out by the HSE found that myths about health and safety are causing confusion for some companies.

One in five respondents believed they were not capable of managing health and safety themselves and required a specialist consultant. Meanwhile, one in 10 thought an electrician needed to test their electrical appliances, such as kettles and toasters, every year.

Almost a third of small businesses classed themselves as ‘hopeful-have-a-go’s’ when it comes to health and safety, saying they knew they had to take action, but were unsure of what to do.

Injury in the workplace

The HSE is calling on small and medium-sized employers to use its online guidance, the H&S ABC, to help them get their risk management right.

Those who fail to comply with health and safety guidelines may put employees at risk of an accident at work, which could result in a costly compensation claim.

Kate Haire, HSE small business lead, said: “Health and safety is all about taking reasonable steps to manage serious risks of ill-health and injury in the workplace. If something sounds completely unreasonable, more often than not it will be totally unnecessary too.”

She said the H&S ABC contains all the information firms need to manage health and safety sensibly and comply with the law.

“We have worked with some key industry partners who have regular contact with SMEs to make them aware of the benefits of using the free online tools and guidance HSE has to offer. We hope employers will realise health and safety does not have to be complicated or cost lots of money.”

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