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HSE responds to Birmingham Post article: ‘Shambles as library staff unable to reach books’

Date:
4 April 2014

Dear Editor,

I read with a mixture of surprise and confusion that ‘health and safety concerns’ were reportedly preventing staff from accessing books on high shelves at the Library of Birmingham.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) would like to point out that it appears bad planning and failure to purchase appropriate equipment is behind this story, not health and safety.

It is relatively easy and inexpensive to hire rising platforms as a solution while the purchase is sorted out. Health and safety is not going to get in the way of that kind of sensible decision either.

Unfortunately, health and safety is often trotted out as an excuse for other misgivings and failings.

We feel it has been used on this occasion to mask bad planning on the authority’s part and the people of Birmingham are being misled.

I would encourage your readers to challenge decisions wrongly made in the name of health and safety. They can contact the Myth Busters Challenge Panel by visiting our website – www.hse.gov.uk/myth

Samantha Peace

HSE Director for Wales, Midlands & South West