Britain’s most “bizarre” health and safety rules


A recent poll of 2,000 workers was taken to uncover Britain’s most debated health and safety policies.

While some of the regulations seem pretty reasonable, mandatory even in many industries [open toed sandals on a building site anyone?]; if you’re office based a few could be considered a little… extreme.

Top 40 “bizarre” health and safety policies

  1. No leaving doors open, as it’s a fire hazard
  2. No wearing of shorts
  3. No heavy lifting
  4. No open toed sandals in case you drop something on your foot
  5. Do not wear flip-flops in the office due to safety concerns
  6. Do not change light bulbs
  7. No running
  8. Do not climb a ladder
  9. No drinks near a PC or laptop
  10. No toasters
  11. Only allowed hot drinks in certain areas
  12. Do not give each other painkillers, such as paracetamol
  13. Do not take get any medication from the first aid box
  14. No candles on someone’s birthday cake
  15. Do not take a plaster without filling out a form
  16. No heaters
  17. No open windows
  18. Must hold handrail when walking up or down stairs
  19. No tinsel to be put up anywhere near work stations
  20. No hats
  21. Do not carry drinks up or down stairs
  22. No carrying boxes
  23. Water bottles only – no cups or glasses
  24. Nobody is allowed to bring nuts into the building
  25. No Christmas tree to be put up
  26. No fans
  27. No eating while walking
  28. No turning things off
  29. Do not shred documents
  30. No hot drinks
  31. Do not attempt to remove paper jams from the printer
  32. Do not move office chairs
  33. Must wear a headset to be on the phone
  34. Do not share food from home, such as cakes, with colleagues due to the potential food poisoning risk
  35. No balloons in the building
  36. Employees must clock out before engaging in chit-chat
  37. No facial hair
  38. Anything left on your desk gets thrown in the bin
  39. Only plastic knives and forks to be used
  40. No more than one personal item on your desk

Following the results of the poll, Geoffrey Dennis, Chief Executive of SPANA who sponsored the survey, said: “It’s clear some workers feel that health and safety rules in the workplace have gone too far – and there are certainly a few strange policies.

“It’s positive, however, that employers are taking the physical well-being of their staff seriously and there are protections in place to keep them safe.”

The study also revealed that around 4 in 10 people were happy to break the rules in their workplace if they thought them unnecessary or excessive. A further 14% of those questioned even admitted that they considered looking elsewhere for work due to disproportionate health and safety rules.

Geoffrey Dennis added: “Health and safety rules that are deemed over-the-top can cause frustration for employees. However, most people in the UK recognise that these policies are there for a reason – and over three-quarters think that we are lucky to have health and safety regulations as workers.

”Ultimately, everyone wants to go home safely at the end of the day, whether that’s from an office or a building site.”

Perhaps what’s more telling about the survey however, is how many of these rules must have come from someone being hurt doing them in the first place.  It gets you wondering; how many people were poisoned before ‘No sharing food from home’ needed to become official company policy?



However, not every health and safety policy is a laughing matter.

In the UK alone, it is estimated that around 12,000 people die every year due to past exposure to respiratory hazards in the workplace.

Fit Testing tight-fitting Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) before first use in the workplace is a legal requirement.

Don’t delay, Fit Test today.



For more information on RPE and how we can help your workforce stay safe in potential respiratory hazardous environments get in touch.