The HSE Myth Busters Challenge Panel are continuing to make a number of findings each month in cases submitted by members of the public and organisations who wish to challenge health and safety advice given by non-regulators.

One case reviewed earlier this month involved a customer who requested the services / parts manual from an appliance manufacturer and was refused on health and safety grounds.  Other cases reviewed include decisions made by marathon organisers who banned devices requiring head phones and employees who were refused bottles of water whilst working on the retail floor.

The HSE set up the independent panel in April 2012 in order to scrutinise situations where it is suggested that "health and safety" is incorrectly used as a convenient excuse to stop seemingly sensible activities going ahead.  The panel's remit is limited to advice given by non-regulators, such as insurance companies, health and safety consultants and employers.  The aim is to provide a mechanism for anyone (whether on behalf of a company or organisation, or as an individual), who receives advice or is told that a decision has been taken in the name of health and safety, to challenge that advice, where they believe it to be disproportionate or inaccurate.

The panel's findings range from upholding decisions made on health & safety grounds, to recommendations that proper explanations are provided or criticism about the use of "spurious references to health and safety".

The Chair of the Challenge Panel has also spoken out in support of an individual who was allegedly told by a fast food chain that she could not use her mobility scooter at the chain's drive-thru facility, due to "health and safety".  Judith Hackitt stated that "health and safety regulations are there to ensure workers come home to their loved ones, safe and well, after their day's work - and have nothing to do with this matter."

In line with a number of recent developments made in health and safety, the panel is said to have been set up in response to the findings of Professor Lofstedt's review.