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Public Finance, 'New trains of thought': eliminating risks - Timothy Walker responds

The Editor,
Public Finance
3 Rupert Street
London WC2 6RL

Sir

Tony Grayling's article (New trains of thought, May28 - June 3) unfortunately repeats a common myth that HSE's approach to safety regulation is one of "eliminating all risks". This has the potential to confuse what is undoubtedly an important debate on the future of Britain's railways.

HSE has never sought to eliminate all risk, on the railways or elsewhere. Sensible health and safety is about managing risks, not eliminating them all; the law recognises the latter is simply not possible. Employers are required to take appropriate measures to keep foreseeable risks 'as low as reasonably practicable'. No less, no more.

Yours faithfully,

Timothy Walker
Director General,
Health and Safety Executive

Updated 2013-01-23