This week I’ve been juggling running the business (and my family) with working behind the scenes as our local drama group prepares for the annual panto. Whilst dashing round behind stage wondering what is going on, a feeling shared by most of the cast, I’ve often thought about stories that throwing sweets out at panto’s had been banned by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE). The HSE issued the following statement on the subject………..
‘Health and safety rules were blamed when a panto stopped throwing out sweets to the audience. In fact they were worried about the cost of compensation if anyone got hurt. Realistically, if a panto throws out sweets the chances of someone being seriously hurt is incredibly low. It’s certainly not something HSE worries about – as far as we’re concerned, this is a case of ‘Oh yes you can!’”
This isn’t the only H&S myth there are literally 100’s listed on the HSE website http://www.hse.gov.uk/myth/myth-busting/index.htm, so how do these myths start? Well in most cases they start with a grain of truth and that somewhere someone has actually ‘banned’ the throwing of sweets, or banned hanging baskets, or the wearing of sandals at work; it’s just that it’s not the HSE that’s done the banning! It is often someone in local council or a H&S adviser within a business feared of giving the wrong advice and then being held accountable for it.
So my message is don’t fear – remember that legislation states that we must assess only reasonably foreseeable significant risk and that controls put in place to reduce this risk must be reasonably practical.
So argue the point, ask why?, ask to have to ridiculous rule not only explained but justified to you and if all else fails give me a ring I love a bit of a heated H&S debate I do!!