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HSE response to 'Troubled waters...' article on Get Surrey website

"Troubled waters leave raft race high and dry" -, 16 April 2012
Response date:
18 April 2012

Dear editor,

I was sad to learn the Nauticalia Raft Race has been cancelled this year allegedly as a victim of 'dreaded health and safety regulations' (GetSurrey online, 16 April).

I say this as Head of Operations for the Health and Safety Executive in the South East, and also as a Commodore of a local sailing club.

For me, sensible health and safety is all about facilitating events of this kind, and should not be 'dreaded' by anyone. It is perfectly possible to run large events for families safely and sailing as a sport is also very safe.

The purpose of rules and regulations governing health and safety is to manage risk and prevent death or injury. The intention is never to spoil fun, yet they are often misconstrued and unfairly blamed as having that effect - as is the case here.

My understanding is that staffing resources were ultimately the reason to cancel the raft race, not health and safety red tape.

The race has proved a popular event for 25 years as part of the Shepperton Village Fair, and I sincerely hope the resource issues can be resolved so that it returns with aplomb next year.

Yours sincerely,

Mike Wilcock
Head of Operations for the South East
Health and Safety Executive

Updated 2012-04-18