The Daily Telegraph
4 Fore Street
15 September 2005
Craig Brown's report on the Way of the World - A health and safety history of Britain (15 September) actually rings true for a number of reasons.
It shows clearly that 'health and safety" has been tarred with the same brush for centuries, indeed almost since the dawn of time. Health and safety is given as the reason for a number of unpopular decisions since Bouddicca's time. And, since time has been recorded through writing and reporting of important issues, mis-reporting has played its part in generating the myth that health and safety is the ill wind blowing across our nation.
The article shows clearly that since time began, health and safety officers have had to waste their time dealing with supercilious stories in the medium of the day rather than "putting the world to rights" through encouraging the effective management of safety and risk, not eliminating it.
My own view is that Bouddicca and King Alfred had attributes that would have made excellent health and safety officers. Bouddicca understood and managed risk. Alfred formulated a code of laws that ultimately created a safer environment, and both changed the course of history.
Acting Chief Executive, Health and Safety Executive