A council refused to clear up dog poo in a playground because they said it could be dangerous to its workers.
Officials at Trafford, Greater Manchester, were worried groundsmen could pick up a disease if they cleared up the mess from a play area in Altrincham.
Parents had asked the council to take action over the mess but were told: "Unfortunately, the Council's grounds maintenance team are not allowed to tackle dog fouling by hand (including spades) for health and safety reasons."
The mums and dads then complained to the Health and Safety Executive's Mythbusters Panel, which ruled that Trafford had used an 'unjustified health and safety reason for not clearing up the dog fouling.'
HSE chairman Judith Hackitt, who heads the Mythbusters Panel, said that it was 'right and proper' that council workers should clean up the playground to protect children from the potentially hazardous waste.
She told The Sun: "There are no rules which prevent this and the precautions needed to protect workers are simple and straightforward. Refusing to clean up is just unhelpful."
Andrew Caine, a dad who brought the complaint, said that council officials had agreed to build a wall around the playground to stop dogs coming in and using it as a toilet.
The HSE's Mythbusters Panel challenges the incorrect use of health and safety rules.
It said in its decision: "In this case those most at risk from the behaviour of irresponsible dog owners are children.
"The Council is right to encourage owners to clean up after their dogs – and the steps they are taking to keep dogs out of the play area are sensible.
"However, saying that their staff cannot clear up the mess for health and safety reasons is incorrect. Any risks to adults from clearing up after dogs can be easily managed by simple precautions and good hygiene."
Mike Penning, the Welfare Minister, said there were no rules to stop council staff clearing up dog mess, adding: "In fact, the risks to children of leaving dog mess, including spreading disease and causing blindness, far outweigh the costs of cleaning it up."
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