There are health and safety rules and then there are spiders

Tuesday 29th September 2015

We all know that health and safety rules are important. Fairly obviously, breach of the rules can endanger health.

Sometimes, people forget the rules and the serious consequences for breaching them.

Sometimes, ignorant people know the rules but ignore them.

Sometimes, people are distracted and don’t pay attention to what they’re doing.

But sometimes, people are so scared of spiders they forget everything and go into a blind panic.

In the US, a man caused a petrol station fire recently after trying to burn a spider which was on his car. If he was thinking rationally, he would have ignored it or squashed it. Instead, he set fire to the spider, his car, and the petrol station pump, ignoring the well-known health and safety rule of no flames next to highly flammable petrol fumes.

Also in the US, a mother was reversing her car when she noticed a spider on her shoulder. She jumped out of the moving vehicle in panic, leaving her nine year old son in the back seat of car. He climbed into the driver’s seat and tried to step on the brake, but instead hit the accelerator pedal, causing the vehicle to speed into a passing school bus. The boy had minor head injuries but thankfully no-one else was injured. The fate of the spider is unknown.

Health and safety rules are important, but so is forward-planning and trying to plan for the unexpected. In business, it might not be enough to have one health and safety rule, instead, you may need several different ones to recognise the risk of the unexpected (even little eight legged creatures) to meet your safety obligations to your employees.

If you would like to discuss in further detail, please contact a member of our employment team.