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HSE Chair response to Sun story alleging pub chain banned poppies

Date:
5 November 2014

Editor, 

I was dismayed to read your story about a pub chain allegedly banning staff wearing poppies for ‘health and safety’ reasons (Poppycock, pubs in safety ban on poppies, p7, November 05). 

This continuing trend of bosses issuing blanket orders wrapped up as ‘health and safety’ has got to stop. It is misleading for members of the public to constantly read headlines blaming non-existent health and safety laws for stopping people going about their everyday business and detracts from the real business of health and safety which is stopping people being killed and seriously injured at work. 

The Health and Safety Executive fully supports the Poppy Appeal, and various types of poppies are on sale to staff in our offices. We all buy poppies to commemorate those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the service of their country, so this disproportionate approach to dealing with a minor risk holds a twisted irony. 

It seems reasonable for an employer to suggest kitchen staff may want to wear poppies without pins to avoid the risk of contaminating people’s food but to apply this to everyone and cite health and safety as the reason is just lazy and wrong. 

Yours faithfully 

Judith Hackitt

Chair

Health and Safety Executive