e-Careers

Gone mad? 5 health and safety myths busted

Workplace safety is vitally important, no matter which sector you operate in. In 2016/17 British businesses lost a staggering 31.2 million working days due to illness or injury, and 609,000 injuries occurred at work.

However, we all know that health and safety can seem like a minefield at times and it's not surprising that a number of myths have grown around it.

We've worked hard to bust the five most common health and safety misconceptions:

"We're being wrapped in cotton wool!"

Over the years 'health and safety' has been used to ban a bizarre variety of activities and objects, including:

  • Pin the tail on the donkey
  • Bunting
  • Office Christmas decorations
  • Fireman's poles (in fire stations!)
  • School ties
  • Hanging baskets.

However, all of these are examples of health and safety either being used incorrectly or as an easy excuse. You can find lots of examples of these on the Health and Safety Executive's Myth Busters Challenge Panel page and even submit your own!

Health and safety is there to prevent illness or injury, and shouldn't stop sensible activities from taking place.

"It's far too expensive"

Although initial set-up may incur some costs, they will still be relatively cheap compared to the potential costs of an accident:

  • Staff absence
  • Investigation costs
  • Fines
  • Compensation payments
  • Loss of reputation (and, as a result, income)
  • Damage to property.

During 2015/16 the annual cost of workplace injury and new cases of work-related ill health was estimated at £14.9 billion.

Plus, it's important to remember the personal cost to the injured employee and their family, and the potential effect a loss of earnings could have on them.

"We have a perfect safety record"

A perfect safety record could be down to the systems put in place... or just good luck! Most accidents are work are preventable and over 600,000 people are injured at work each year. This is why it's important to review risk assessments on a regular basis.

"You can't prevent every accident"

While it's true that some accidents occur as a result of bad luck, it's widely accepted that most workplace accidents are preventable.

If you work under the assumption that accidents will always happen and nothing can be done to prevent them, it's more than likely that your business will cease to follow safe procedures. By following health and safety procedures you can reduce the likelihood of accidents happening.

"Health and safety is just common sense"

Anyone who has ever watched YouTube will know that common sense is a myth! In fact, an employee may carry out a task in a dangerous manner simply because they don't realise that what they're doing is unsafe. This is why it's important to ensure employees are aware of the correct way to carry out potentially dangerous tasks.

Feeling unsure?

Here at e-Careers we offer a range of online health and safety courses to help you get the latest information. Visit our workplace safety courses page to view our selection or contact one of our Training Experts on 020 3198 7700.