Health and Safety Executive
Wednesday 5 November 2008 15:02

Health and Safety Executive (East)

Norfolk joins HSE to hit back at health and safety myths

Norfolk County Council has signed up to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) campaign to combat the growing number of myths that are undermining health and safety legislation.

HSE Head of Operations for the East, Geoff Baker, met with Norfolk's Chief Executive David White yesterday (Tuesday, 4 November) to publicly sign up to 'ten principles of sensible risk management' which gives practical advice on what risk management should - and should not - be about.

Geoff Baker said: "We've all heard the stories about health and safety banning hanging baskets or making children wear goggles to play conkers. This is not what we are about - it is not what HSE wants, not what Norfolk County Council wants, and not what the law requires.

"We all want to focus our attention on practical steps that protect people from real risks that can lead to injury and death; we do not want to stop people from living their lives.

"I am inviting all the East's local authorities to follow the example set by Norfolk County Council and join with us in tackling the issue by publicly signing up to 'sensible risk'. Together we can embed these principles into our working culture and ensure the decisions we make focus on the real task of saving lives and preventing injuries and ill health."

Derryth Wright, Norfolk County Council's Corporate Health and Safety Manager, said:

"Protecting the health and safety of our employees and service users is a crucial issue for us. Exaggerated stories of health and safety risk do not reflect reality and can undermine our work.

"At Norfolk County Council we advocate a sensible approach to health and safety management - where control measures are proportionate to the risks involved, and that's why we're proud to sign up to the HSE's sensible risk campaign."

Further information can be found at


Picture caption: Norfolk sensible risk signing (left to right): Geoff Baker, HSE Head of Operations HSE East, Derryth Wright, Corporate Health and Safety Manager at Norfolk County Council, and David White, Chief Executive at Norfolk County Council.

Notes to editors

Principles of sensible risk management.

Sensible risk management is about:

* Ensuring workers and the public are properly protected;

* Providing overall benefit to society by balancing benefits and risks, with a focus on reducing real risks - both those which arise more often and those with serious consequences;

* 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.

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.

Issued on behalf of the Health and Safety Executive by COI, for further details please contact Catherine Kimberley on 01223 372793 or Jeremy Owen on 01223 372783.

Client ref HSE-E117

COI ref 167213P

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