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New UK map of bogus ‘elf and safety excuses:  Londoners report most ‘jobsworth’ decisions to myth buster panel

New UK map of bogus ‘elf and safety excuses: Londoners report most ‘jobsworth’ decisions to myth buster panel

2 December 2013 Email this article

More people in London and the South East have reported ill-founded health and safety excuses to HSE’s Myth Buster panel – which clamps down on bogus health and safety excuses - than any other part of the UK, new analysis shows. 

The results show that more people report that they’re told “sorry, can’t do that because of ‘elf and safety’” in the capital and the South East than anywhere else – with more than fifty cases reported over the past year. 

Some of those exposed in the capital include:  

  • The cleaners at London underground stations banned from wearing woolly hats in winter; 
  • A well-known department store which refused to serve fried eggs in a “full English breakfast” for fear of a pan fire; and 
  • A British airline flying out of Heathrow who refused to serve boiled sweets to passengers suffering ear-ache. 

Other ridiculous examples from other parts of the country include: 

  • A housewife from Kenilworth who was told by her fishmonger they would not fillet her fish because it was too slippery; 
  • Kids in Midlothian forced to traipse hundreds of yards to use their new tree house because the local council refused to build one on their own land; and 
  • A woman who had her parasol confiscated at a racetrack as it may be dangerous

Minister for Health and Safety Mike Penning said: “Health and Safety regulations save lives – but bogus excuses do nothing more than throw a spanner in the works of otherwise sensible activity.

“No doubt the figures will raise an interesting debate about whether they reveal the extent of over-zealousness or show that people have had enough and are no longer prepared to put up with nonsense excuses. 

“Either way, it’s good to see so many people on the side of restoring common sense.”  

The Myth Busters Challenge Panel was set up in April 2012 to help the public challenge petty and misguided decisions wrongly made in the name of health and safety. Since then there has been more than 210 complaints to the Panel, with the huge majority of cases having no basis in law. 

To see the map and a list of regional and national highlights of the daftest “health and safety” decisions, click here