I can’t believe it was just twelve months ago that I wrote about some of the false Health & Safety issues that make their way into the public domain. Here we are again, though, and I’ve come across some more myths that need sleighing. See what I did there?
• Xmas Tree Banned in Shopping Centre! I often spot stories about shopping malls and High Streets cutting back on their traditional Xmas decorations, sometimes for unspecified Health & Safety reasons. I think the real reason is usually that they can’t afford the lavish decorations of past years and are looking for someone to take the blame.
• No Sweets to be Thrown at Panto! One year Health & Safety was blamed for the Dame not showering the kids at a pantomime audience with sweets. In reality, the production was worried about being sued if anyone was injured by a flying sweet. Providing you take the sweets out of the tin first, the chances of hurting anyone are remote. It is not an H&S issue.
• Seats Removed from Shops! I can understand weary Xmas shoppers being upset if they have nowhere to sit down and take a break, but once again it is not a Health & Safety issue. If a shop takes seats away it is most likely to provide more room to allow more shoppers access to the store.
• Second Hand Toys Not Allowed to be Donated! This one really annoyed me. A South Wales Toy Box scheme asked for toys to be donated and a rumour went round that second hand items would not be accepted ‘for Health & Safety reasons’. Simply not true. There may be considerations such as the condition of the toys or insurance issues but there are certainly no restrictions due to H&S.
The moral seems to be not to believe everything you read on social media or in the press. I say ‘Bah! Humbug!’ to all those doubters and festive killjoys. Be sensible, be safe and enjoy a Happy Xmas.