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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 August 2006, 13:54 GMT 14:54 UK
Campaign to stop 'trivial risks'
Ben Fogle
Ben Fogle has lent his support to the HSE campaign
A campaign has been launched to encourage people to stop worrying about "trivial" concerns over safety and concentrate on real risks.

The Health and Safety Commission said unnecessary concerns over paperwork and the fear of being sued were being used to cancel school trips and outings.

Instead it is urging people to focus on risks that cause harm and suffering.

A set of guidelines on sensible risk management has been released to coincide with the campaign.

The HSC is concerned that too much concern over paperwork and bureaucracy will stifle learning and innovation.

Author, TV presenter and adventurer Ben Fogle lent his support to the launch.

He said: "I probably take more risks than most - and I wouldn't want my life to be any other way.

"No one wants a world where children, in fact anyone, is wrapped in cotton wool, prevented from taking any risks and scared of endeavour."

Red tape

The guidelines, released by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), say risk management should focus on ensuring workers and the public are properly protected, while also balancing benefits and risks in the best interests of society.

With no risk comes no excitement
Phill Callaway, Sheffield

Chair of the HSC Bill Callaghan, who launched the initiative, said some health and safety stories were "just myths".

"There are also some instances where health and safety is used as an excuse to justify unpopular decisions such as closing facilities," he said.

"My message is that if you're using health and safety to stop everyday activities - get a life and let others get on with theirs."

Jonathan Rees, HSE deputy chief executive, said the aim of the campaign was to "cut red tape and make a real difference to people's lives".

"These principles... will hopefully drum home the message that health and safety is not about long forms, back-covering or stifling initiative.

"It's about recognising real risks, tackling them in a balanced way and watching out for each other. It's about keeping people safe, not stopping their lives."

HSE figures show 212 workers and 384 members of the public were killed due to workplace accidents in 2005/06.

In 2004/2005, 35 million working days were lost due to work-related ill health or injury, and more than 150,559 major injures were reported.

The HSC has overall responsibility for occupational health and safety in Great Britain, while the HSE is an enforcing authority that works in support of the commission.

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