A decision by East Herts District Council to fire its tea lady and spend taxpayers' money on consultants to teach staff how to make a cup of tea has been blasted as health and safety gone mad.
Jill Melvin, 46, was sacked from her job as tea lady at the council offices in Bishop's Stortford in March but since then at least two employees have been injured in tea-related incidents.
Council bosses brought in £200-a-day consultant Chiltern Health and Safety Concepts for risk assessment and offered its 150 staff advice on the dangers of making tea.
A 17-page safety document concluded that staff should stop carrying trays of hot drinks up and down stairs and stop leaving files on the floor for people to trip over.
But staff say hiring the consultants was a complete waste of taxpayers' money.
Indepedent councillor Keith Barnes said: "It does seem silly to pay money for consultants on a thing such as this."
Liberal Democrat councillor Les Pinnell said: "Under this health and safety legislation everybody is going berserk."
However a council spokesman said the money was spent on reducing the chances of hazards for members of staff.
He said: "We could have decided to save the £200 a day and risked a payout of thousands if someone had been hurt but we felt that would have been a much more irresponsible use of council taxpayers' money.
"As a council we think very carefully about where we spend our budget and our sensible approach has been praised by our auditors as the best in Hertfordshire."