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HSE response to Dame Fiona Reynolds' comments in The Times

"Children 'are being denied sheer joy of the outdoors'" - The Times, 5 March
Response date:
5 March 2012

Dear Editor,

Dame Fiona Reynolds makes several very important points about the formative nature of children's outdoor experiences (Children 'are being denied sheer joy of the outdoors', The Times, p11, Monday 5 March), and I agree with her wholeheartedly.

I have long argued that it is both impossible and detrimental to attempt to remove all risks from children's lives.

At the heart of the aversion to exposing children to even minor risks is a false assumption that it protects them - it does not. It fails to prepare them for adult life, where they must learn to recognise and manage serious risks. In fact, it does our young people a disservice.

We need people to enter the workplace understanding how to deal with risk, because our workplace health and safety system is all about managing risk not eliminating it.

Yours faithfully,

Judith Hackitt
Health and Safety Executive

Updated 2012-05-16