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Sutton joins HSE to hit back at “health and safety myths”

3 November 2008

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The Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) campaign to combat the growing number of “myths undermining important health and safety legislation” has been bolstered by another local authority signing up to its “sensible risk agenda”.

Today (Monday 3 November 2008), Sutton Local Authority will publicly sign up to “10 principles of sensible risk management”, which gives organisations practical advice on what risk management should – and should not be – about.

The HSE campaign says sensible risk management should be about:

  • Ensuring that workers and the public are properly protected.
  • Providing overall benefit to society by balancing benefits and risks.
  • Enabling innovation and learning – not stifling them.
  • Ensuring that those who create risks manage them. responsibly and understand that failure to manage real risks responsibly is likely to lead to robust action.
  • Enabling individuals to understand that as well as the right to protection, they also have to exercise responsibility.

It says sensible risk management is not about:

  • Creating a totally risk-free society.
  • Generating useless paperwork mountains.
  • Scaring people by exaggerating or publicising trivial risks.
  • Stopping important recreational and learning activities for individuals where the risks are managed.
  • Reducing protection of people from risks that cause real harm and suffering.

Steven Williams, HSE Regional Director for London, said: “Turn your minds from the saloon bar stories about supposedly banning conkers or putting up Christmas decorations, and look at the stark reality: too many people have lost their lives or been injured in London. Tackling this is what real health and safety is all about.”

Daniel Ratchford, Sutton Local Authority’s Strategic Director of
Environment & Leisure, said: “Protecting the health and safety of our workers and the community we represent has always been a crucial issue for us. Over time, the stories of health and safety gone mad has undermined the good work we and other local authorities do to protect people here in the region.”

On 3 November, Sutton Council will host an event at their headquarters to highlight their commitment to a proportionate and focused approach to risk management.