Sensible Risk

Information regarding Northumberland County Councils commitment to sensible risk management

Health and safety has suffered from a considerable amount of bad press in recent years.

Some elements of the media have distorted stories, and some people and organisations have jumped on the " ‘elf n safety band wagon"  to push through decisions which really had very little to do with health and safety.

Some insurance companies make up safety rules and restrictions based purely on minimising the potential to pay out on policies rather than real risks to people.

Some people with good intensions have also miscalculated the real risk and imposed unnecessary restrictions; we cannot live life permanently protected from every minor hazard the world has to offer.

Northumberland County Council has signed up with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and many other local authorities to sensible risk management.

Sensible risk management IS about:

  • Ensuring that 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.

Further information on sensible risk management is available on the Health and Safety Executive's (HSE's) website. It has an amusing slant with a calendar of cartoons debunking many of the myths.

Health and safety is about managing the real risks in the real world and not about mountains of paperwork and protecting people from occasional paper cuts.

If you are worried about health and safety in terms of your workplace, an event or recreational activity you are organising then contact the Public Protection Commercial Team for some sensible advice.  Don't let health and safety scare you.