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HSE response to 'Conker time dangers' letter in Telegraph & Argus (Bradford)

'Conker time dangers' - Telegraph & Argus (Bradford), 2 September 2011
Response date:
7 September 2011

Dear editor,

I was disappointed to read that T&A reader Terry Tordoff (Letters page 2 September) believes the Health and Safety Executive will be keeping a watchful eye on unsuspecting schoolboys playing conkers in the weeks ahead.

Mr Tordoff implies that HSE officials will be quick to criticise participants for "risking life and limb by not wearing full protective clothing" and asks us to "put all this childish nonsense to rest".

I couldn't agree more. There's nothing more galling than officials trying to spoil your enjoyment and meddling for meddling sake.

Which is why the Health and Safety Executive has never moved to end the game of conkers - or any other innocent playground game.

Our view is firmly that schoolchildren learn to deal with risk through play and adventure, and that bumps and scrapes are part of learning to deal with hazards in life - whether that is being rapped on the knuckles by a misguided conker or otherwise.

According to Mr Tordoff, HSE should focus on issues like dangerous practices in the workplace. That's exactly what we are doing - and we aim to see deaths, injuries and ill health continue to fall as a result.

So I echo his sentiment: "Let's put all this childish nonsense to rest." The Health and Safety Executive is not out to spoil your fun!

Yours sincerely,

Paul Spurrier
Head of Operations for Yorkshire and the Humber
Health and Safety Executive

Updated 2015-06-28