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Responses to articles about fruit farm closure

To the Daily Telegraph:

Dear Sir,

We would like to make it clear that the advice mentioned in the article Strawberry Fields Forever: unless the insurers have their way did not come from the HSE.

You state that the Health and Safety Executive shoulders responsibility for the blame culture by taking employers to court unless they wrap their employees in cotton wool. That is untrue; for example in the Boddingtons Farm case, we decided not to take any enforcement action.

Yesterday, 3 June, we launched our new 5-year strategy "Be part of the solution". Part of that strategy is about concentrating on practical action to control significant risks and challenge those stories where health and safety is used as an excuse for unpopular decisions. A number of companies have signed the pledge to help us promote a common sense approach to health and safety, including the Association of British Insurers.

We are not about eliminating risk but about real risk management. We are calling on everyone to promote a sensible and proportionate approach to risk assessment.

Yours faithfully

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

To the Sun

Dear John,

Congratulations on being the only national reporter to get his facts straight with the story Final Strawb (The Sun, P24, 4 June).

A lot of things get done in the name of health and safety that are really about something else - not wanting to get sued, looking for an excuse for not doing something costly, etc. In fact, health and safety is largely about being proportionate in dealing with serious risks, not wrapping everyone in cotton wool.

It is also about people having a bit of common sense - something Sun readers, and now evidently Sun reporters, are well known for. Our new strategy: Be part of the Solution, launched 3 June, further promotes the idea of common sense in any approach to health and safety.

Best regards,

Judith Hackitt
Chair

To other newspapers that carried the story

The other papers were the Daily Mail, The Mirror, The Daily Express and The Metro.

Dear Sir,

We would like to make it clear that the advice mentioned in your article did not come from the HSE.

Yesterday, 3 June, we launched our new 5-year strategy "Be part of the solution". Part of that strategy is about concentrating on practical action to control significant risks and challenge those stories where health and safety is used as an excuse for unpopular decisions. A number of companies have signed the pledge to help us promote a common sense approach to health and safety, including the Association of British Insurers.

We are not about eliminating risk but about real risk management. We are calling on everyone to promote a sensible and proportionate approach to risk assessment.

Here is a link to the new strategy - Be part of the solution

Yours faithfully

Judith Hackitt
Chair, Health and Safety Executive

Updated 2014-05-16