UK & World News
Frilly Socks 'Too Dangerous For Schoolgirls'
A ban on girls wearing frilly socks and refusal to clear up dog mess in a playground are among a list of health and safety excuses branded "ridiculous" by a Government minister.
Health and safety minister Mike Penning has written to schools and councils to highlight the spate of bizarre mis-interpretations of health and safety laws, which have led to a string complaints from the public.
"Health and safety has long been used as a smokescreen by jobsworths who have little knowledge of the law and who want to fob people off with an easy excuse," he said.
Almost 300 people have contacted a myth buster panel set up by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) two years ago
Recent cases include a school in Hampshire not allowing a pupil to bring in a baby chick for a presentation due to concerns about bird flu, and a local council in Scotland banning dog shows from community halls.
Other cases involve a school in Gloucester telling girls not to wear frilly socks for fear of them tripping over, and a council near Manchester preventing loose flowers and pots being placed on graves.
Judith Hackitt, who chairs the HSE, said: "I would urge all decision makers to take a step back and ask themselves whether a decision made in the name of health and safety, is actually just an excuse for something else.
"Real health and safety is about protecting people in the workplace from life and health threatening risks - it is not about stopping a child taking a baby chick into school, or banning indoor dog training.
"Own up to the real reasons behind the decision, don't just reach for the easiest excuse."