There is a job to be done in educating the public that health and safety stories in the media about over-zealous bureaucrats are by and large myths that do not tell the whole truth, the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health has said.
In a poll of 3,000 workers, most people understand that health and safety is important, but also, it argued, believe the “mythical monster created by some sections of the media that tells us it’s all about jobsworths making daft decisions and tying us all up in red tape”.
The poll found nearly seven in 10 workers underestimated how many injuries there are at work annually, with nearly half believing there were fewer than 50,000 when in fact it is between 200,000 to 300,000.
Yet six in 10 recognised health and safety was important, helped to save lives, or prevented people from getting ill or injured at work, while seven in 10 agreed it did not make it difficult for them to do their job.
IoSH president John Holden said: “The media myths store up problems for us all, not just those working in the sector, because they create the danger of people believing some of the nonsense written and talked about health and safety, then turning their backs on the everyday need to protect against the very real risks that do exist in the workplace.”
IoSH is also lobbying for a formal accreditation programme for health and safety consultants.