New analysis has revealed that more people in London and the South East have reported ill-founded health and safety excuses than anywhere else in the UK.

The Health and Safety Executive has looked at the national spread of all reports to the “Myth Busters Challenge Panel” – which was designed to clamp down on bogus health and safety excuses. The results show that more people report that they're told “sorry, can't do that because of elf and safety” in the capital and the South East than anywhere else – with more than 50 cases reported over the last year.

Yorkshire was also revealed to have the second worst reporting rate for absurd complaints, with 22 and Wales and the Scottish Highlands received the least number of elf and safety gripes.

Minister for Health and Safety Mike Penning said, “Health and Safety regulations save lives – but bogus excuses do nothing more than throw a spanner in the works of otherwise sensible activity. 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. Either way, it's good to see so many people on the side of restoring common sense.”

Some of the best excuses in London included:

  • cleaners at underground stations being banned from wearing woolly hats in winter; 
  • a well-known department store which refused to serve fried eggs in a “full English breakfast” for fear of a pan fire; and 
  • a British airline flying out of Heathrow who refused to serve boiled sweets to passengers suffering ear-ache.

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