Everybody hears about those health and safety myths – the ones that make you roll your eyes. Like being told you can’t have candy floss on a stick in case you trip over and impale yourself, shops not being allowed to sell hanging baskets in case you bump your head, and university graduates not being allowed to throw their hats into the air in case they explode… you know the type!

Freeclaim Solicitors investigate some of the biggest health and safety myths currently doing the rounds based on recent cases heard by the HSE (the Health & Safety Executive).

1. Chips can no longer be served in a paper cone? Yes they can.

When ordering food at her local chip shop, a woman asked the cashier to serve her chips in a paper cone rather than a tray as it was easier for her to carry it whilst she was shopping. However, the lady serving behind the counter said she could not carry out her request, stating that it was against health and safety and that she might burn herself on the chips. The HSE disagreed with the chip shop owner and found that the customer had made a perfectly sensible request.

2. Confetti ban? The HSE disagree.

A pub banned confetti and had a sign referring to the reason for the ban being due to health and safety. It may have been a cleaning up issue, but it certainly wasn’t a health and safety issue. After the HSE contacted the pub, the owner took the sign down.

3. Donkey rides banned at village fetes? It’s not down to health & safety!

Newspapers recently reported that council bureaucrats had banned donkey rides for children at a village fete due to… you guessed it “health and safety” reasons! According to current HSE guidelines there is nothing in health and safety law that stops children from riding donkeys or a law that requires them to wear helmets. This was simply a case of organisers cancelling the donkey rides due to an operator not holding the correct licence required under animal welfare legislation.

4. Graduates banned from throwing mortar boards? Again, no health and safety reason for a ban.

In another instance of jobsworths ruining people’s fun, graduates were told by their university that they were banned from throwing their mortar boards in the air – using health and safety as an excuse when it was clear they just didn’t want the boards to get damaged.

Health and safety is quite often used an excuse to stop what are in reality are quite sensible activities. Unfortunately it also encourages the view that we have a ‘compensation culture’ and undermines the excellent work of the HSE, ensuring that the UK is one of the safest places to work.

Freeclaim Solicitors specialise in serious accidents and injuries, helping clients recover millions of pounds after an accident at work, road accident, serious trip or other accident. For friendly, expert advice, call today on 0800 612 7340 (open 24 hours a day) or enquire online at www.freeclaim.co.uk