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HSE responds to SpongeBob SquarePants Christmas Lights Story

HSE responds to SpongeBob SquarePants Christmas Lights Story

2 February 2013 Email this article
The HSE is continuing its trend of fighting back against detractors who blame them for being ‘spoilsports’. In a bizarre case, health and safety regulations were cited as the reason a man dressed as children’s TV character ‘SpongeBob Squarepants’ wasn’t allowed on stage at a Christmas lights switch on ceremony in Wolverhampton. The city’s council claimed that because there were so many people in the area, they would be falling foul of health and safety regulations if they let the character climb the five steps necessary to get to the stage. In response to coverage of ‘elf and safety’ stopping play in newspapers such as the Daily Mail, the Daily Star and the Sun, the Health and Safety Executive’s Chair, Judith Hackett issued a statement saying that she “felt for the children who were in tears at the switch on of the Wolverhampton Christmas lights and can understand their parents’ anger.” She went on to add that “The truth is that health and safety did not prevent SpongeBob Squarepants taking to the stage to switch the lights on. With a bit of common sense and proper forward planning it would have been perfectly possible to get  SpongeBob up on the stage, bulky costume or not.”

As a parting shot, she concluded: “If I could have a Christmas wish for myself it would be that we hear a lot less of these ridiculous excuses in future. That would be a gift we can all enjoy.”