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Sensible risk management

It is refreshing to see this statement from the UK Health and Safety Executive which attempts to define the principles of what Safety and Risk Management is and is not:

(see it published here:

but please read it carefully!)

So why is there such a disparity between the principles of the Regulator and the silly, convoluted stuff (and all of it’s dangerous by-products) that we see on worksites??

Risk management is about taking practical steps to protect people from real harm and suffering – not bureaucratic back covering.

Taking a sensible approach to risk management is about:

  • ensuring that workers and the public are properly protected

  • enabling innovation and learning not stifling them

  • ensuring that those who create risks manage them responsibly and understand that failure to manage significant risks responsibly is likely to lead to robust action

  • providing overall benefit to society by balancing benefits and risks, with a focus on reducing significant risks – both those which arise more often and those with serious consequences

  • enabling individuals to understand that as well as the right to protection, they also have to exercise responsibility

It is not about:

  • reducing protection of people from risks that cause real harm

  • scaring people by exaggerating or publicising trivial risks

  • stopping important recreational and learning activities for individuals where the risks are managed

  • creating a totally risk-free society

  • generating useless paperwork mountains

If you believe some of the stories you hear, health and safety is all about stopping any activity that might possibly lead to harm. This is not our vision of sensible health and safety – we want to save lives, not stop them.

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