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    HSE RESPOND TO ‘ELF AND SAFETY’ CRITICS

    Construction resourcing second only to nuclear says regulator

    Kevin Myers, HSE Deputy CEO and former Chief Inspector for Construction, has hit back at a Quentin Letts Daily Mail article ‘R.I.P, Old-Fashioned Common Sense’.

    Myers agrees that emphasis on “personal responsibility is needed in a balanced approach to risk management” but objects to Letts poking fun at ladder training given the annual toll of death and serious injury arising from falls, many of which involve ladders.

    The ex-construction chief stresses that HSE has a strong focus on “serious incident areas” such as construction. With the exception of major hazards (such as the nuclear industry and offshore oil and gas) construction is said to be HSE’s “most highly resourced sector” and there are plans to recruit a cadre of ‘new’ Construction Inspectors in the coming months. 

    Comment: The Daily Mail article and related Panorama programme illustrate how health and safety can be used as an excuse for actions driven by other motivations. However, both pieces reflect a growing real public concern that the HSE mantra of ‘common sense’ is often lacking in some business sectors. This comes with the added danger that the baby of ‘real health and safety’ could be thrown out with the bathwater. Now is the time for a more serious debate on priorities in health and safety.

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