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HSE's Deputy Chief Executive, Justin McCracken, responds to articles about HSE's accident and incident rate being higher than other industries

Daily Star

The Editor
Daily Star
The Northern and Shell Building
10 Lower Thames Street
London EC3R 6EN

Sir,

Your article "It's not safe to work here" is wrong to state that the rate of incidents to HSE employees is higher than the rate in heavy industry. It is also wrong to say that an HSE worker was caught shaving while driving.

The rates of accidents and incidents in HSE are low compared with other organisations, as one might expect. The journalist who made the enquiry to HSE about accident figures was told this. Indeed, most other comparable organisations have a reportable accident rate several times higher than ours.

The person caught shaving while driving does not work for HSE.

I realise that it is entertaining to poke fun at authority, but this should not be done by playing fast and loose with the facts.

Yours faithfully

Justin McCracken

Deputy Chief Executive
Health and Safety Executive

The Sunday Mirror

The Editor
The Sunday Mirror
1 Canada Square
Canary Wharf
London E14 5AP

Sir,

Your article "Safety is riskiest business" is wrong to state that staff at HSE are injured more often than most other workers.

The rates of accidents and injuries in HSE are low compared with other organisations, as one might expect. Indeed, most other comparable organisations have a reportable accident rate several times higher than ours.

The journalist who made the enquiry to us was told this.

It is entertaining to poke fun at authority but this should not be done by playing fast and loose with the facts.

Yours faithfully

Justin McCracken

Deputy Chief Executive
Health and Safety Executive

The Times

The Editor
The Times
1 Pennington Street
London E98 1TT

12 February 2007

Sir,

The rates of accidents and injuries in HSE are low compared with other organisations, as they should be. HSE gave this information, and explained it, to the journalist who contacted us about accident rates.

The article "It's a dangerous life working at the headquarters of health & safety" is misleading and inaccurate. It does not compare like with like. Instead it takes all HSE injuries (even the most minor ones) and then compares them with only the most serious injuries in industry. There are far more minor accidents (that, by law, do not need to be reported) occurring within industry than serious ones, so it is not surprising that the conclusions drawn in your article are misleading.

For example, if you compare like with like, HSE had a rate of around 2.4 reportable accidents for every 1,000 employees which is several times lower than that in equivalent service sector organisations.

Your readers should also be made aware that the health & safety "inspector", caught shaving whilst at the wheel of his car and banned from driving, is not an HSE employee.

It is entertaining to poke fun at authority, but it should not be done by playing fast and loose with the facts.

Yours faithfully

Justin McCracken

Deputy Chief Executive
Health and Safety Executive

Updated 2009-04-27