Myth Busters

Issue

A supermarket banned a customer from taking his foldaway bicycle into store for health and safety reasons.

fold up bike

Panel opinion

This is clearly a myth as health and safety at work law does not prohibit taking folding up bicycles into retail premises. It’s refreshing to see those who used ‘elf and safety’ as an excuse to tell their customer ‘on your bike’ back-pedalling, holding their hands up and admitting this was clearly inappropriate.

Issue

A child was not allowed to play in a soft play area with no socks on as not having socks on was against health and safety.

Panel opinion

There are no workplace Health and Safety regulations requiring socks to be worn in a soft play area.  NHS online advice is to cover up warts or veruccas if taking part in communal activities, to minimise the risk of infections spreading.  This company’s wider requirement that all children wear socks might well reflect this public health concern.  In this case it would be better to explain the policy and refer to the public health concern rather than to give the impression that there are Health and Safety regulations requiring it. Perhaps the soft play provider could provide socks at a small additional charge for those children who turn up without them to avoid disappointment.

Issue

Bar manager refused to serve salt and lemon with Tequila shots to customers in a nightclub due to health and safety.

Panel opinion

There is no workplace health and safety legislation that prohibits the service of salt and lemon with tequila. This looks like a case of quoting an easy excuse – possibly to cover up poor customer service. The bar should simply serve the drink in the traditional way as requested, and not misuse health and safety legislation in this way.