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Businesses warned over misuse of health and safety laws

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has warned businesses to apply health and safety regulations properly and avoid using them as an “excuse”, after uncovering a number of strange misapplications of the law.

There are concerns that businesses are getting around explaining company policies by simply telling customers that decisions have been made on health and safety grounds. Health and safety officials are urging businesses to instead inform people of the real reasons behind their decisions.

In the last few months, the HSE has been alerted to cases including an office that banned staff wearing open-toed shoes on health and safety grounds, and a fabric store that turned away a student seeking work experience because  “there are scissors around”.

HSE chairwoman Judith Hackitt said it was important for business owners and their staff to have an understanding of health and safety laws, and added that they should only be used to protect people from “health or life threatening risks”.

Health and safety minister Mark Harper warned: “Real health and safety laws exist to protect Britain’s workers, and not to be used as a smoke screen by jobsworths who have little knowledge of the law and who want to fob people off with an easy excuse.”

The importance of health and safety at work

While these cases are certainly not an appropriate use of health and safety legislation, it is vital that businesses are aware of what needs to be done to protect their workers.

Accidents in the workplace can occur for a variety of reasons, from insufficient training to flawed safety equipment, and while companies are duty bound to guard against these issues there are some that fail to do this.

If you are injured at work and feel that your company could have done more to prevent your accident, speak to the team at Croftons Solicitors as soon as possible on 0800 2800 0994 or using the enquiry form on this page. We can assess your claim and advise you on how to proceed.

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