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‘Elf and Safety has Gone Mad in Offices across Britain!

If you own a small business that is office-based we have some rather strange news about health and safety at work.  According to research carried out by international animal charity, SPANA (Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad), Britain has some of the most bizarre health and safety rules on the planet!  Researchers polled more than 2,000 workers on health and safety in the workplace and some of the findings really could lead you to believe that “elf and safety” has gone mad.  Some of the health and safety rules make perfect sense when you think about them, whilst others do seem to be a little over the top. 

Here’s a sample of some health and safety rules that do make sense:

  • No changing light bulbs at work - this makes sense as changing a bulb often means using a ladder which requires users to undergo ladder safety training.
  • No drinks near a PC or laptop – could result in expensive tech repair/replacement bills.
  • Hot drinks only allowed in specific areas – risk of burns.
  • No candles on birthday cakes – fire hazard.
  • Must hold handrail when using stairs – minimises the risk of a fall.
  • Do not attempt to remove paper jams from a printer – risk of both electric shock and damage to printer.
  • Must wear a headset when on the phone – helps to minimise risk of misunderstanding due to background noise.
  • No heavy lifting or carrying boxes – anybody expected to lift boxes and other equipment should have undertaken a manual handling course.
  • Water bottles only, no cups or glasses – minimises the risk of anything being slipped into a drink.
  • No eating whilst walking – possible choking hazard.
  • Do not bring nuts into the building – to ensure a nut-free zone which is vital for those with nut allergies.
  • No turning off electrical switches – some electrical items will be essential and should be left on.
  • No running – minimises the risk of slips, trips and falls.
  • No flip-flops in the office – again minimises risk of slips, trips and falls.
  • No Christmas tree or tinsel – these could be a fire hazard, especially if the tree has lights.

And here are some health and safety rules that may be overkill:

  • Staff are not allowed to give a colleague a paracetamol tablet.
  • Workers must fill out a form before using a plaster.
  • No wearing shorts – this is more likely to be because wearing shorts at work could look unprofessional for those who are expected to interact with the public or other business contacts.
  • No fans – although the blades of a fan can present a risk, there are plenty of fans available that have the blades protected and inaccessible.
  • Do not move office chairs – this would depend on the office, some offices are busy and a stray chair could cause trips or falls.
  • Only plastic knives and forks allowed – this seems a little over the top as most workers are unlikely to be aggressive towards colleagues.
  • Do not share food from home with colleagues – due to the potential risk of food poisoning.
  • No facial hair – this depends entirely on the job (some jobs require the use of a face mask at times) and there is the question as to whether this applies to both men and women!
  • No balloons – because balloons are just THE most dangerous thing you could take to work – you may just float away on a strong gust of wind!

Next week we’ll be taking a look at the legal obligations faced by small to medium business owners when it comes to employing staff.  Don’t miss out on the vital information, just follow us on Facebook or Twitter to get a notification when the post is published.