Mr Colin Bower is quite wrong to suggest in his recent letters that the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) stopped a donkey derby in Llandudno and stopped Mrs Turnbull tending a flowerbed on a road island near Devizes ('Health and Safety' 14th August and 'Do-good brigade' 31st July). HSE had no involvement in either issue whatsoever. We understand that the donkey derby had difficulties reaching agreement with its insurance company, whilst the local authority asked Mrs Turnbull to put up a road sign and wear a fluorescent jacket - both of which they supplied - when working in the road. The fact that other similar activities do continue to take place all over the country attests to the reality that no such 'ban' exists.
HSE is committed to promoting sensible risk management, focussing on practical actions to protect people from real harm and suffering - not bureaucratic back-covering. We do not spend our time inspecting voluntary activities, our staff are dedicated to tackling serious workplace risks, such as those that killed 14 workers and seriously harmed many more in the East Midlands last year. Whilst it may be fun to ridicule HSE, misleading claims that we have 'banned' activities serves only to promote misunderstanding and perpetuate the very problem of excessive caution about which Mr Bower complains.
Geoffrey PodgerHSE Chief Executive