It’s health ‘n safety gone mad!

One place on the world wide web  the Forager often frequents is the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) website.

It’s important to constantly review the safety of one’s workplace. Farmers might sneer, but offices can be lethal; paper-cuts, keyboard bacteria, canteen food – danger lurks around every corner.

One favourite part of the HSE website is the “mythbusters” section, where the executive debunks spurious use of health and safety as an excuse for not doing something. Past gems include coffee bars not providing hot water, restaurants not bagging up leftovers, and a cafe refusing to put a topping on an icecream, all on the grounds of health and safety.

One finally came up involving poultry, see below:


* Case 230 – School refused to allow pupil to bring in a live baby chick for school presentation


A school’s policy does not allow a pupil to take in a pet baby chick into school for his presentation due to health and safety and quoted bird flu as main reason.

Fulletby hatchery chicks copy


Panel decision

Health and safety legislation does not prevent children bringing pets and small animals to schools, and the small risk of any type of infection can be readily controlled by simple everyday measures like hand washing. Specific guidance to help schools build these activities into lessons is freely available and helps avoid disproportionate, risk averse decisions like this one being attributed to health and safety.