'Ridiculous' health and safety bans challenged

Kite flying, schoolyard games and sports day sack races have all been hit by an "epidemic" of health and safety excuses, which should be challenged by the public, the Government said today.

Ministers published a list of the most bizarre bans linked to health and safety rules, which were being wrongly used to curtail people's personal freedoms.

The "ridiculous" bans uncovered by the Health and Safety Executive had no basis in official regulations and betrayed an "obsession" with managing minor risks in heavy-handed and bureaucratic ways or complying with stifling restrictions imposed by insurance companies, said the Government.

Examples included:

:: Wimbledon tennis officials citing health and safety as a reason to close Murray Mount when it was wet.

:: Stopping dodgem cars from bumping into each other at a holiday park in Skegness.

:: Banning Royal wedding street parties.

:: Kite flying on a popular tourist beach in East Yorkshire

:: Stopping pupils from using playground monkey bars unsupervised in Oxfordshire.

:: Schoolyard football games banned - unless the ball was made of sponge.

:: Children no longer allowed to take part in a sack race.

Employment Minister Chris Grayling said: "We have seen an epidemic of excuses wrongly citing health and safety as a reason to prevent people from doing pretty harmless things with only very minor risks attached. This has to stop. The law does not require this to happen - people must be encouraged to use their common sense.

"Health and safety laws exist to provide important safeguards against people being seriously injured or made unwell at work and should not hamper everyday activities. These regulations are intended to save lives, not stop them.

"Middle managers in councils and companies should not try to hide unpopular decisions behind health and safety legislation. People must acknowledge these myths and continue to challenge them."

Ministers voiced concern that misconceptions of health and safety law drew attention away from the real workplace risks that put people in genuine danger.

Health and safety legislation was generally focused on the workplace, dealing with risks such as unguarded machinery, unsafe work at height and exposure to toxins such as asbestos, said the government.

Richard Jones of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health said: "This statement by the minister represents an important watershed in putting the record straight about real health and safety, highlighting that it's only when it's misinterpreted and misapplied that there are problems.

"Better education and Government promotion of the sensible steps the law really requires should help debunk all this nonsense once and for all.

"Health and safety is about enabling things to happen and keeping people safe, it's certainly not about pointless paperwork, barmy bans or spoiling sports days."

A review of health and safety legislation, carried out by Professor Ragnar Lofstedt, will report to ministers in October with proposals for consolidating or simplifying existing statutes.

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
sportSo, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Arts and Entertainment
Dennis speaks to his French teacher
tvThe Boy in the Dress, TV review
News
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
The Plaza Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia was one of the 300 US cinemas screening
filmTim Walker settles down to watch the controversial gross-out satire
Arts and Entertainment
Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz in Tim Burton's Big Eyes
film reviewThis is Tim Burton’s most intimate and subtle film for a decade
Life and Style
Mark's crab tarts are just the right size
food + drinkMark Hix cooks up some snacks that pack a punch
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant- NY- Investment Bank

Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Day In a Page

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect