Category Archive: Health and Safety Executive

Apr
03
2013

Now wash your hands

I recently visited an exhibition at the Barbican Centre in London entitled “The Bride and the Bachelors: Duchamp with Cage, Cunningham, Rauschenberg and Johns” More recently I was invited to speak to a conference entitled “Risk culture for charities” organised by the Institute for Risk Management. I began my conference presentation with an overview of …

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Feb
07
2009

Risk Management: the Economics and Morality of Safety Revisited

Abstract The introduction to the proceedings of the Royal Academy of Engineering 2006 seminar on The Economics and Morality of Safety concluded with a list of issues that were “worthy of further exploration”. I have  reduced them to the following questions: • Why do moral arguments about ‘rights’ persist unresolved? • Why can risk managers …

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May
09
2008

Are we doomed to live in an oppressive safety culture?

Martin Parkinson raises an interesting question (comment on previous post): what should be the reaction to an accident that, a priori, was an extremely low probability event? He suggests that “any attempt to reverse the counterproductive aspects of ‘health and safety culture’ is doomed to failure”. After an accident he argues that most people will …

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Sep
07
2007

Never mind the width, feel the quality

(Published in abbreviated form in The Times Higher on 24 August 2007, as “Tide of paranoia swells safety fears needlessly”) “We are in danger of having a wholly disproportionate attitude to the risks we should expect to run as a normal part of life.” So said the Prime Minister in May 2005. At the highest …

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Mar
19
2007

“Ensure you can see where you are putting your feet before walking”: Governance and Compliance

Keynote address to OpRisk Europe Conference, 21 March, London: All risk is subjective. “Risk” is a word that refers to the future, and that exists only in the imagination. Risk management involves speculating about this future, about things that could go wrong, and about ways of preventing them. In recent years, in the public sector …

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Oct
28
2006

When are we getting a new Mental Health Act?

This question is posed in the title of a symposium to which I have been invited to contribute (organised by Cygnet Health Care – London, 30 November 2006). It is also highly relevant to a staff seminar I have been invited to give at Grendon Prison on 17 November. A succinct summary of the contentious …

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Oct
09
2006

HSE sick and tired – and likely to remain so

On 22 August 2006 Bill Callaghan, Chair of Britain’s Health and Safety Commission (HSC – overseer of the HSE, the Health and Safety Executive) issued a press release entitled: “Get a life”, says HSC”. He announced: “I’m sick and tired of hearing that ‘health and safety’ is stopping people doing worthwhile and enjoyable things when …

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