Health and safety gone mad, or just plain old fiction? We discover the myths and the truth inside the health and safety industry.

Banning children from playing conkers

It is widely believed that children must be banned from playing conkers. This ban is said to be in effect unless the children are wearing appropriate PPE. Appropriate PPE refers to safety goggles or in some cases, bump caps. The origins of this rule was formed internally within schools. The ban was put in place to prevent injury among children.

As widespread as this ban is, the HSE has never issued any laws or regulations on the matter. The HSE released a statement to say that conker playing is relatively low risk.


Banning children from playing pin the tail on the donkey

This myth was quickly debunked again by the HSE. They released a statement to say that they considered this activity fairly low risk. They further added that modern alternatives of pin the tail on the donkey rarely uses a pin. In fact most nowadays use velcro or blu tack, which furthermore minimises risk.


Banning Candy Floss sticks at fun fairs

This was covered by news outlets around the London region. Following the theme of the previous two, this rule is also bogus. The HSE have never released a statement on candy floss. Furthermore, it is popular for many modern candy floss manufacturers to sell their product in a bag or bucket, which eliminates the argued risk.


Banning employees from putting up Christmas decorations

You may have seen this ban enforced over the festive period. The HSE was asked whether that employees are banned from putting up decorations. They denied the claims that this was true. They went on to say that Christmas decorations are perfectly fine, however the manner in which they are put up could be an issue. Employees would need to conform to safety standards such as using ladders when appropriate. For example, in an office environment, employees must not use their office chair to hang decorations as this could pose a risk to health and safety.


Banning flip flops in the workplace

This claim is part correct under current UK HSE law. The law states that appropriate footwear must be worn at all times where there is a risk present. This refers to potentially dangerous environments such as building sites or kitchens. This would mean flip flops could be worn in office environments however many choose not to for hygiene purposes and lack of professionalism.



For further information regarding health and safety, be sure to visit the HSE website

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