Five controversial health and safety bans

Controversial Health and Safety Bans

A recent controversial health and safety ban has inspired use to put together a small collection of bans which attracted the attention of the public.

Recently, a row has broken out amongst the construction industry due to construction firm Mears banning workers from having beards due to health and safety concerns.

Mears has said that the ban requires all workers to be clean shaven in order to ensure dust masks fit securely and work effectively.

The company will only make exceptions if:

   A worker cannot shave for medical reasons

   A dust mask cannot be worn for medical reasons

   A person has a beard for religious purposes

This recent health and safety ban has inspired us to put together a small collection of controversial health and safety bans which attracted the attention of the general public.

1. Heinz – #CanSong advert (2016)

The Heinz baked bean advert taught viewers how to use tins cans to drum out a song; the advert was banned because of complaints that consumers could cut themselves when trying to copy the advert.

The advert received nine complaints that the advert encouraged “unsafe practice”, with six saying that it could be dangerous for children if they copied the information incorrectly.

Controversial Health and Safety Bans

2. Butlins – dodgem cars (2011)

Butlins banned holiday-makers from bumping into each other on their dodgems, requesting that instead they manoeuvre carefully around the course, and have ‘great fun’ overtaking other cars instead. Disappointed visitors described this experience as navigating ‘an exitless roundabout’.

3. Wimbledon – closure of Murray Mount (2011)

Wimbledon turned off its giant TV screen for the first time in 2011 on Murray Mount as they feared fans may slip on the slope and injure themselves due to heavy rain, denying thousands of fans the chance to watch Andy Murray’s opening match.

4. Gloucester’s Cheese Rolling – making the cheese wheel (2013)

Cheese wheel supplier for the famous cheese rolling competition Diana Smart hit national headlines in 2013 after being asked not to supply the cheese for this ‘dangerous’ event, where contenders chase a wheel of cheese down Cooper's Hill. The 86 year old was told by police that she would be wholly responsible for any injuries caused at the event.

Controversial Health and Safety Bans

5. Oxford University’s library – Stepladder ban (2009)

The stepladder ban in Oxford University’s library meant that students couldn’t access items of the higher shelves of the reading room. One student had to travel 80 miles to view a particular book after librarians refused to get it down for them.


While bans like these may seem like “health and safety gone mad” a lot of the changes are actually put in place by management teams through fear of civil claims for injuries.

There is also a great deal of misunderstanding of health and safety regulations and legislation, as unfortunately it is not always clear cut what is expected of you; this is where we can help.

Our expertise is available when and where you need it; if you have any questions regarding your health and safety responsibilities contact us today to see how we can help you.