Monday, 7 April 2014



Lincolnshire business leader welcomes online guides to help dispel health and safety myths for local small firms

A new survey has revealed the lengths some small firms mistakenly go to trying to comply with health and safety. One business completed a risk assessment for using a tape measure and another introduced written guidelines for walking up stairs.

These bizarre and unnecessary actions were uncovered by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which is encouraging small and medium sized employers in the East Midlands to use its free online tools and guidance, specifically designed to help them get their risk management right.

The H&S ABC provides simple information to help small firms save time, effort and money by identifying the things they really do and don’t need to do.

Simon Beardsley, chief executive at the Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce, said he was sure the new resource would be put to good use by their members.

He said: “I welcome the news that HSE has launched a free online toolkit that will be available 24/7.

“Our members have told us that knowing where to turn for accurate advice on health and safety issues can be a real challenge. There is so much hearsay. But this free toolkit will dispel all the myths and confusion, and act as a hub of information for businesses.”

HSE’s survey shows how myths about health and safety could cause unnecessary confusion and flagged some of the most absurd things employers had been advised to do.

One in five people (22 per cent) surveyed believed they weren’t capable of managing health and safety themselves and needed to hire a specialist consultant. Eleven per cent believed that a qualified electrician must test electrical appliances, such as kettles and toasters, every year – another persistent myth.

Nearly a third of small businesses surveyed classed themselves as ‘hopeful-have-a-go’s’ when it came to health and safety - aware they have to take some action but unsure where to start or if what they are doing is correct.

HSE’s small business lead Kate Haire said:

“Health and safety is all about taking reasonable steps to manage serious risks of ill-health and injury in the workplace. If something sounds completely unreasonable, more often than not it will be totally unnecessary too.

“What’s great about H&S ABC is that it contains all the information smaller businesses need to know to manage health and safety sensibly and comply with the law. It highlights the real risks in a workplace and how to put reasonable precautions in place.

“We have worked with some key industry partners who have regular contact with SMEs to make them aware of the benefits of using the free online tools and guidance HSE has to offer. We hope employers will realise health and safety does not have to be complicated or cost lots of money.”

Access the Online guide here:

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