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Guardian: 'Safety first culture'

Kevin Myers, HSE's Deputy Chief Executive, responds

Sir,

I read with interest your article (Whose life is it anyway?, November 8) suggesting Britain now has a 'safety first culture' that was taking all the risk out of adventure sports.

HSE does not see why health and safety should be used as a barrier to activities which keep people fit and healthy, such as adventure sports. HSE accepts that risk cannot be eliminated completely. If activities do pose real risks, then surely the answer is to plan well to manage them in a sensible and proportionate way rather than stop the activity altogether.

Far too often health and safety is used as a convenient excuse for activities not going ahead when the real motivation lies elsewhere - for example a disproportionate and risk averse approach or the high cost of insurance premiums.

Yours faithfully

Kevin Myers
Deputy Chief Executive
Health and Safety Executive
Redgrave Court
Merton Road
Bootle
L20 3HS

Updated 2009-04-27