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HSE Chair agrees with Justice Minister on school science experiments

HSE Chair Judith Hackitt responds

Dear Editor,

It's great to see the Justice Secretary, Jack Straw, flying the flag for a common-sense approach to health and safety ('Safety: some have gone too far', 8 October).

As the Chair of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), I wholeheartedly agree with Mr Straw when he says that science lessons and experiments are "not about wilfully exposing children to unnecessary danger, but better getting them to understand how to make their own decisions about the risks..."

I was inspired to start my career as a chemical engineer by the experiments we carried out at school. They brought science to life for me. This is why I supported IChemE's 'Whizz Bang' campaign to bring back exciting experiments to the classroom.

I completely support Mr Straw's willingness for children to learn about risk, it's an essential part of growing up. HSE encourages well run activities throughout school life to help students learn and manage risk in the real world.

Yours sincerely,

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

Updated 2013-01-23