More people in London and the South East have reported bogus health and safety excuses than any other part of the UK, according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
The HSE analysed the national spread of reports made to the Myth Busters Challenge Panel, which was created in order to crack down on health and safety excuses. More people reported being told "sorry, can't do that because of health and safety" in London than anywhere else.
Yorkshire took second place in excuse making, while Wales and the Scottish Highlands, clearly made of sterner stuff, came last.
Health and Safety minister, Mike Penning, said:
No doubt the figures will raise an interesting debate about whether they reveal the extent of over-zealousness or show that people have had enough and are no longer prepared to put up with nonsense excuses.
Some of the examples of health and safety zealotry seen in the capital included a well-konwn department store refusing to serve fried eggs for fear of the pan catching on fire. Other gems from across the country included a woman in Kenilworth who was informed by her fishmonger they would not fillet her fish because it was too slippery. An attendee at York races had her parasol confiscated but was reassured she could have it back if it rained.
Chair of the HSE, Judith Hackitt said:
It’s becoming increasingly clear just how many petty jobsworths there are hiding behind health and safety for fear of being sued or because they simply can’t be bothered. I want more people to have the confidence to challenge these excuses. If it doesn’t make sense to you then you are probably being fobbed off – many people are beginning to realise that now.