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HSE Chair responds to Telegraph article on primary school pupils' risk assessments

"Starting them young" - The Telegraph, 22 October 2012
Response date:
23 October 2012

Dear Editor,

It is sad to read about the children of Dedham Primary School being kitted out in hi-viz jackets and clipboards (Telegraph comment, p25, Oct 23) and asked to undertake risk assessments in the school grounds.

No-one would disagree that young people need to learn about risk, but not like this. The school's actions however well intentioned only succeed in turning health and safety into a parody. It sets the scene for continued misuse of "elf n safety" and overly bureaucratic nonsense for generations to come.

School grounds are low risk environments, where children should be being encouraged to enjoy the outdoors, not see them as a place full of danger.

The Health and Safety Executive is doing its best to encourage working adults to take a more sensible and proportionate approach to managing risk in the workplace. Our message to four and five year old children in the playground is much simpler - get out there and have fun. Perhaps they could build a bonfire with the clipboards!

Yours faithfully,

Judith Hackitt

Updated 2012-10-23