School Accident Prevention H&S Myths #4 - Hell and High Mortars
SG World are all about solutions that keep students safe and sound at school. Accidents happen and must be managed and reported but even we recognize you can have too much of a good thing. In this blog series we'll be mythbusting some of the stories you will have seen in the press where schools look like they're taking H&S a bit too far.
Health and safety at work legislation is about reducing death, serious injury and ill health in the workplace, including schools. It is about taking the necessary action to reduce significant risks - it is not about banning activities. Let's look at why graduation day safety has people talking through their hats!
Issue: A university has banned the throwing of mortar boards on graduation day. The university collected the hats after the graduates ceremony finished, to avoid them throwing their caps into the air. Enquirer was told they do this because of health and safety issues.
What the HSE say: This myth tends to re-surface around this time every year and the HSE have been quick to close it down. Geoff Cox, who heads the Health and Safety Executive public sector team, said: "You'd think universities would study history and do a bit of research before repeating tired health and safety myths like this one. The banning of mortar board tossing on supposed 'health and safety' grounds is one of our most popular myths and actually appears in our Top 10 all-time worst health and safety excuses."
"As far back as 2008, HSE made it clear the law does not stop graduates having fun and celebrating their success in the time-honoured fashion. The chance of being injured by a flying mortar board is incredibly small and it's over-the-top to impose an outright ban. We usually find the concern is actually about the hats being returned in good condition."