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HSE responds to Birmingham Mail - 'Icy pathway to safety'

21 January 2010

Dear Editor,

Re: "Your Say: Icy pathway to safety" 19 January 2010

I would like to make it clear that nobody who volunteers to support their community by clearing pavements during icy conditions should feel they are in danger of being sued under health and safety legislation.

Your reader is wrong to say that the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) believes "that it is safer to have icy pavements than cleared ones". We think it is ridiculous that people should feel prevented from helping others, through a fear of being held responsible for an accident. I personally would love to see more people out there shovelling snow away and really appreciated the efforts of all my neighbours and local shopkeepers who did so.

HSE encourages a common sense approach to health and safety, and is focused on the real safety risks at work. Slips and trips can have nasty consequences: nearly 11,000 workers suffered a serious injury as a result of a slip or trip at work last year.

Our Shattered Lives campaign, which begins next month, aims to reduce this toll of injuries by highlighting the terrible consequences of slips and trips and explaining the simple practical things that can be done to prevent them.

Yours sincerely,

Rosi Edwards
Regional Director, Midlands
Health and Safety Executive
1 Hagley Road
Birmingham B16 8HS

Updated 2012-10-23