A recent survey by Spana, an international animal charity, has highlighted the most bizarre health and safety rules in workplaces around the UK.
Of the 2,000 people polled, one in five revealed that they are not allowed to change light bulbs in the workplace. This is a fair health and safety rule as it does put employees at risk of both the dangers of electricity and, potentially, working at height.
In order for businesses to protect themselves, they should ensure that there is a clear policy in place for something like changing light bulbs to ensure that only those with the appropriate training do so.
Another popular rule is the ban of birthday candles in the workplace – a potential fire hazard – and not being allowed to give a colleague paracetamol.
Though there is no law against either of these, it is best practice to make these policies clear to your employees to avoid putting anyone in danger.
Another fifth of those surveyed said that flip-flops were banned from the workplace amid safety concerns i.e. tripping over.
But coming out on top as the most bizarre health and safety rule is ‘no leaving doors open’. An open door is probably not the biggest safety risk in your workplace but, again, it is good practice to keep doors closed to avoid drafts and uninvited guests.
Other bizarre rules include only being provided with plastic knives and forks, not being allowed to change the time on the clock to match daylight savings and tucking in your shirt whilst shredding paper.
The survey found that more than a third of participants believe that health and safety laws at work have gone too far with one person noting that even an minor injury such as a paper cut has to be logged in accident books.
It also emerged that nearly four in ten respondents are happy to break rules in their workplace if they deem it unnecessary, or just do not agree with it.
Half of British workers think that health and safety regulations have become stricter since they started working for that company.
This may be the case, but for good reason. Workplace injuries and fatalities are decreasing year on year thanks to tighter legislations and as fines and potential jail time become harsher for employers who put their staff at risk, companies are ensuring that they cover every potential hazard with a policy.
Though this can seem extreme for many employees, it is great to see that employers are taking the physical well-being of their workers seriously. As they say, better to be safe than sorry.
If you require a workplace risk assessment or health and safety audit, then our qualified Health and Safety Consultants are on hand to help. Just call us today on 0845 2626 260.