Staff at a branch of Waitrose refused to fillet a fish for a customer on the grounds that it was 'too slippery', according to a report compiled by the Health and Safety Executive.
According to the HSE Myth Busters Challenge Panel, which was established to scrutinize decisions which use Health and Safety as a spurious justification, a customer wanted to purchase filleted trout in her local supermarket.
When told none was available she asked the assistant on the counter to to fillet some from a whole fish.
According the HSE report the assistant agreed but was told by his supervisor that it wasn't possible on the grounds of Health and Safety because the fish was 'too slippery'.
The customer who reported the incident noted that on the supermarket website, it states "just ask if you'd like your fish skinned or filleted".
Judith Hackitt, Chair of the Health and Safety Executive (and Chair of the myth busters challenge panel) said: "I'm glad the customer didn't fall for this red herring. Just another case of poor customer service and nothing to do with health and safety."
"HSE's myth busters challenge panel is helping people fight back against petty excuses and is drawing attention to the real reason for health and safety laws - preventing death and serious injury in the workplace."
In another case highlighted by the HSE a Waitrose customer claimed he was told that a butcher had refused to bone a leg of lamb citing health and safety as the reason.
Waitrose has apologised for both incidents.