Recent HSE News, Myths and Prosecutions: October 2014

Northern Ireland work-related deaths drop by almost 50 per cent
 
The Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) published its annual report in September, which confirmed a dramatic reduction in work-related deaths. The number of all work-related fatalities between 2013 and 2014 shrunk to 10, compared to 19 in the previous year. However, farm deaths continue to be the biggest challenge facing workplace health and safety in Northern Ireland. The report found that while the number of work-related agriculture deaths fell to four, compared to 11 last year—a 67 per cent reduction—it still accounted for 40 per cent of the overall deaths. The report also summarised the HSENI’s recent work done from 2013 to 2014, which included carrying out 6,350 workplace inspections and delivering 325 one-to-one mentoring visits to small businesses. Although the HSENI is satisfied with the results, it is determined not to rest on its laurels.
 
Chips cannot be served in a paper cone
 
A Glasgow woman who ordered chips from a chip shop to take away asked for her chips to be put in paper and wrapped in a cone, rather than in the normal plastic tray. She thought they would be easier to eat and carry in a cone as she walked around the shops with her husband. The shop’s proprietor responded by saying she was unable to accommodate the request because it was against health and safety. The customer was advised to remove the tray and wrap them up herself. The HSE Myth Busters Panel concluded this was yet another egregious instance of poor customer service disguised as a health and safety concern.
 
Parents banned from saying goodbye at school playground
 
A newspaper reported that during ongoing construction work at a south London primary school, parents were banned from saying goodbye to their children in the playground due to the school’s health and safety fears. The school maintain that the extensive construction work has limited access to the school, and that an influx of parents and children every day in the playground could cause a dangerous situation. The school faced an immediate backlash, and plans are now in place to revise the arrangements and make the situation more comfortable for both students and parents.