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HSE response to Bear Grylls' comments in The Telegraph

"Chief Scout Bear Grylls says health-and-safety red tape threatens children's safety" - The Telegraph, 7 March
Response date:
7 March 2012

Dear Editor,

I could not agree more with Bear Grylls that risk aversion is getting in the way of children learning about life (Mandrake, 7 March).

Young people need to be exposed to risk in childhood in order to learn how to deal with it. When they join the world of work, they will be expected to recognise risks and respond sensibly to them. This is the cornerstone of Britain's workplace health and safety system.

Of course we should all challenge pointless red tape, but we do also need to get to the bottom of what the problem actually is - including the role played by overprotective parents and the impact of fears about being sued.

Mr Grylls has an invitation on his desk to work with HSE to make it easier for children to be able to do exciting and dangerous activities so that they learn to handle risk. We hope to hear from him soon.

Yours faithfully,

Judith Hackitt
Health and Safety Executive

Updated 2012-05-16