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HSE responds to FT Weekend letter

Letters, FT Weekend, 8 October 2011
Response date:
12 October 2011

Dear Sir,

Roger Ford clearly feels strongly about reducing unnecessary bureaucracy (FT Weekend, letters p12, 8 October). So does HSE.

An overzealous or ultra-cautious approach to dealing with health and safety issues in workplaces is in the long-run self-defeating because it ignores the real challenge - helping employers understand, manage and control real risk in a sensible and proportionate way.

Over the last 35 years, HSE has supported hundreds of thousands of employers in making Britain one of the leading industrial nations for safe and healthy workplaces. In recent years, we've also had to spend a good deal more time challenging the ridiculous diktats Mr Ford mentions, few of which have anything remotely to do with real risk management.

Every year in Britain workplace injuries kill more than 150 people, maim thousands and hospitalise tens of thousands more. While the price for these health and safety failings is paid first and foremost by the victims and their families, the country counts the cost too - in medical fees, benefits payments and lost productivity, among other ways. The bill for these failings is estimated at some £20billion a year.

As to HSE's accountability, we are an arm's length public body, which reports annually to Parliament, is scrutinised by both the National Audit Office and various select committees and whose work is overseen by ministers.

We believe strongly that good health and safety is good for business, and will continue to actively make this case.

Yours faithfully,

Kevin Myers
Deputy Chief Executive

Updated 2012-01-13