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Panel out to stop ‘jobsworths’

Panel out to stop ‘jobsworths’

A health and safety “myth-buster” panel has taken a stand against “jobsworths” who it says use legitimate guidelines to mask unpopular decisions. The panel was assembled to uncover misuses of workplace safety laws. It has been inundated with complaints in 2012 and has now answered its 100th case. As many as 38 cases were said to involve employers ‘hiding’ behind safety laws. Almost one in four cases were found to involve over-interpretation of those laws through fear of being sued.

The new report revealed an instance where a bus driver turned away a passenger with a hot cup of coffee, while a pub customer was stopped from carrying a tray of drinks from a bar to his table. Knives in kitchens and kettles in offices were also among the things stopped on “health and safety grounds”.

Employment Minister Mark Hoban said:

“It’s so frustrating when people are stopped from doing perfectly sensible things on the false pretence of health and safety. The panel has now exploded 100 myths and is helping ordinary people fight back against the jobsworths.”

Health and Safety Executive chair Judith Hackitt said: “It’s really important that we are all ready to challenge stupid decisions made in the name of health and safety, and that we as the regulator give the public the confidence to do so.”

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