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Friday 28th October 2016

Health and safety 'used as an excuse', Hackitt warns

15th June 2010

Too many people use health and safety as an excuse to hide behind, the Chair of the Health and Safety Executive has warned.

Judith Hackitt made the comments in a letter to Lord Young of Graffham, welcoming his review and offering to help gather evidence for his inquiry.

Prime Minister David Cameron appointed Lord Young to lead a Whitehall-wide review of health and safety law and practice. He will also examine compensation culture and report to the Prime Minister in the summer.

In her letter, Judith Hackitt wrote:

"The terms of reference of your review extend beyond HSE's remit, which is concerned with addressing real risks and preventing death, injury and ill health to those at work and those affected by work related activities.

"However, we in HSE have been saying for some time that health and safety is being used by too many as a convenient excuse to hide behind.

"We welcome your review and stand ready to make available to you whatever information or insight we can."

HSE has been running its myth of the month campaign since 2007, hitting back at some of the ridiculous decisions that are wrongly blamed on health and safety.

Often health and safety is invoked to disguise someone's real motives - concerns over costs or complexity, or an unwillingness to honestly defend an unpopular decision.

HSE continues to champion a sensible and proportionate approach to dealing with risks in the workplace - not eliminating them from all aspects of life.

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