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Health and safety bans must end: Chris Grayling's top 10 barmy diktats

By Daniel Martin

Last updated at 2:07 PM on 24th August 2011

Their decisions to stop what most regard as harmless fun have annoyed and baffled the public in equal measure.

These, however, are the cream of health and safety killjoys.

A list of the top ten most infuriating bans by Britain’s busybodies has been released.

Too risky: Officials ruled that sack races on school sports days should be banned because competitors could fall and hurt themselves (Library photo)

Too risky: Officials ruled that sack races on school sports days should be banned because competitors could fall and hurt themselves (Library photo)

Among the daft decisions was one to stop dodgem cars bumping into each other at Butlins holiday parks.

The top ten also included stopping daytrippers from flying kites on beaches and banning sack races on sport days.

Even the Royal British Legion made the list for not giving out pins to attach poppies, lest supporters prick themselves.

Wimbledon bosses featured for barring fans from watching tennis on Murray Mount after rain, in case they slipped.

The list was released by the Health and Safety Executive, which said too many middle managers were taking it upon themselves to ban low-risk activities. Many of the cases uncovered in the last year were first highlighted by the Daily Mail.

Ministers have ordered a wide-ranging review and pledged to  consolidate or simplify the law.

Epidemic of excuses: Chris Grayling

Epidemic of excuses: Chris Grayling

Employment minister Chris Grayling, whose brief covers the issue, said: ‘We have seen an epidemic of excuses wrongly citing health and safety to prevent pretty harmless things with only very minor risks attached. This has to stop. Health and safety laws should not hamper everyday activities.

‘These regulations are intended to save lives, not stop them.’

In reality, health and safety legislation is mostly aimed at the workplace, dealing with risks such as unguarded machinery.

Butlins banned bumping on dodgems at its resorts at Skegness, Minehead and Bognor Regis in April over fears of being sued, despite complaints it made the rides boring. At the time, Jeremy Pardey, director at Bognor Regis, cited ‘health and safety reasons’, saying: ‘The point of our dodgems is to dodge people, not to run into people.’

Other baffling bans on the list included councils stopping Royal Wedding street parties and carnivals being told not to have fancy dress parades.

Schools in Oxfordshire stopped pupils using playground monkey bars unsupervised while a school in Merseyside banned leather footballs. Malvern Primary School allowed children to play football only if they were made of sponge.

East Riding Council said it would fine kite-flyers up to £500 on a series of beaches including Bridlington and Hornsea. In June, Colchester Council told Charlotte Cubitt, 85, staff could not take her TV to be recycled as they might hurt themselves.

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