There are myths aplenty in the world of health and safety but the HSE are quick to clear up any workplace rumours.
The following are real cases presented to HSE and they busted the myth pretty promptly:
Kettles and microwaves aren’t allowed in the office
In one instance, office workers were advised that kettles and microwaves were not allowed in the office due to health and safety requirements and that it would need insurance at a cost to the employer.
However, there is no law that prohibits such equipment from being used in the workplace and the employer should express their real concerns regarding any fire hazard or danger due to microwaves and kettles.
Employees can’t give a glass of water to customers after they’ve fainted in their shop
This is actually a bizarre policy to have in any workplace because not giving someone, who is obviously ill and potentially dehydrated, a glass of water is actually more of a presenting more of a danger.
Water will always do more good than harm and it could give your business a bad reputation if you refuse to accommodate a customer who has fainted.
Christmas decorations around computers and desks are unsafe
Is it dangerous to have tinsel around your desk and computer?
Well the HSE have confirmed that there is no real health and safety reason not to decorate the office for Christmas – in fact, it will probably benefit the mental well-being of your staff.
Wearing sandals in the office is against health and safety legislation
Yes, wearing sandals or flip-flops in the summer around the workplace can be dangerous and does lead to a high number of slips, trips and falls. However, it isn’t actually illegal or against any health and safety legislation.
You can opt to wear sandals and flip-flops although employers do have the right to include a policy on footwear in their handbooks which you should refer to first.
Office workers can’t eat fruit or vegetables at their desk
This one probably sounds really strange and confusing; surely consuming fruit and veg is beneficial to employees as it increases productivity and decreases tiredness. An employer may choose to include a ‘no eating at your desk’ rule in the workplace because they think it’s a distraction or may encourage workers to eat their lunch at their desk and, therefore, not get an actual break from their desk. However, there is no health and safety reason not to eat anything at your desk.