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HSE Chair Judith Hackitt's response to the Edinburgh Evening News "Aiming to avoid some potential banana skins"

Dear Editor,

At the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), we fully endorse the notion put forward by City Council health and safety advisor Graham Anderson ("Aiming to avoid some potential banana skins" 27 July 2009) that "The rule of thumb is: if it feels like common sense, it's probably OK to do it..."

All too often health and safety is conveniently used as an excuse for events or activities not going ahead. HSE offers simple guidance to help those planning events or activities, such as our easy to use, five-step guide to risk assessment.

Stories of children who are allegedly made to wear goggles before handling Blu-Tack, are indeed 'elf and safety' gone mad. HSE wants children to learn how to deal with risk, not be wrapped in cotton wool.

Our job is to prevent death, injury and ill health to those at work and those affected by work. In Great Britain, 180 people died in workplace incidents last year and several thousand deaths occurred due to work related disease and ill-health - that's the reality, forget the trivia!

Yours sincerely,

Judith Hackitt
Chair, Health and Safety Executive
Redgrave Court
Merton Road
Bootle
Liverpool
L20 7HS

Updated 2013-01-23