HSE Calls On Retail And Leisure Industries To Stop The Blame Game

Many Health And Safety Excuses Due To 'Poor Customer Service'


Andrew Robinson, Press Officer | 0113 218 6463

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has called on businesses to make a new year's resolution to put a stop to blaming health and safety for their own poor decisions.

The organisation said new research by the University of Exeter, which examined cases put to HSE's Myth Busters Challenge Panel, reveals that over half of such cases come from shops, cafés and the leisure industry.

The panel encourages members of the public to tell HSE when they think "health and safety" has been wrongly invoked as a reason for extra charges or unsatisfactory customer service.

According to the research, 45% of the cases the panel reviewed were really down to poor customer service – including a £30 delivery charge for a footstool, a swimming pool that wouldn't lend goggles and a shop that wouldn't accept returned headphones.

"HSE wants to encourage everyone, especially those working in leisure and retail, to make a resolution to stop using the health and safety catch-all excuse," said HSE Chair Judith Hackett.

"Give the real reason for the decision you take. We want people to be honest - giving health and safety the blame is lazy and unhelpful."

Expert Opinion
Health and safety regulations are in place for a reason and they are designed to protect workers and members of the public, reducing the likelihood of them being exposed to dangers that can cause serious injuries. It is important health and safety is not used as an excuse by businesses for failing to provide the service customers expect.

“The HSE panel has been dealing with myths surrounding health and safety for a number of years and we welcome its work, as it is crucial health and safety measures are taken seriously and companies take their responsibility and duty to workers and members of the public seriously, by implementing and complying with the latest guidance from the HSE.”
Stephen Nye, Partner