Recent HSE Myths and Prosecutions – February 2014

Store refuses to test light bulbs

A customer bought a set of light bulbs from an Aberdeen home improvement store only to discover at home that one of the bulbs was a dud. When the customer returned to the store to return the defective bulb, she asked if an employee could test her replacement bulb. The employee declined, citing ‘health and safety reasons’ that prohibited testing light bulbs in the shop. The HSE Myth Busters Panel declared that there is no health and safety legislation forbidding testing light bulbs prior to sale and that it is difficult to think of even one valid reason for refusing this simple service.

 

Shop door ‘required’ to remain open

A North East man attempted to close a shop door to keep out the cold air after he entered, but was told by employees the door must remain open to allow wheelchair users access. The employees invoked ‘health and safety’ as the reason for keeping a door open to the elements in winter. The shop confirmed it has an ‘open doors’ policy, but that the employees were misinformed when they cited health and safety as the reason. It was merely a business decision. The HSE panel pointed out there is no reason for requiring a door to remain open, especially in January.

 

Hot drink trolley service refused due to health and safety

Staff at an East Midlands dog show had plenty to be icy about after they were refused hot drink trolley service due to health and safety concerns—that the drinks trolley attendant passing hot drinks to staff might be dangerous. The HSE panel immediately dismissed this prohibition as ridiculous, since hot drinks are served in much more dangerous conditions, such as moving trains. It is a simple over-reaction to an easily manageable hazard.

 

Multiple violations for Holmfirth Firm

The owners of a Holmfirth business park were fined £7,000 and ordered to pay £1,355 in costs after health and safety failings led to a 68-year-old maintenance worker fracturing his ankle. The worker was on a ladder removing heat exchange units from the roof space of a former machine shop in Huddersfield Road. His co-worker, a cleaner, was steadying the ladder on the ground when it was knocked from his hands. The maintenance worker fell 4 to 5 metres. The HSE uncovered a deplorable lack of workplace health and safety risk assessments.