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HSE chair is everything like a dame

Health and Safety Executive (HSE) chair Judith Hackitt has been made a Dame of the British Empire in the new year honours list.

Judith Hackitt ,Health and Safety Executive (HSE) chair
Judith Hackitt, Health and Safety Executive (HSE) chair | Image credit: ©HSE

Since 2007 Hackitt has served first as chair of the Health and Safety Commission (HSC) then as chair of the HSE board which succeeded it. She was previously a member of the HSC between 2002 and 2005. 

She worked in the chemicals industry for 23 years for employers including Esso Chemicals at its Fawley refinery, before joining the Chemical Industries Association in 1998, becoming its director general in 2002.

She is due to stand down as chair in March.

She became a Commander of the British Empire in 2005 for services to health and safety and her latest title is in recognition of services to and engineering in particular acting as a role model for young women. 




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  • Tim,As you know I have had

    Permalink Submitted by Sourabh on 5 March 2016 - 06:47 pm

    Tim,As you know I have had some fascinating long-term inceoattirns with HSE, such as the Adventure Activities Licensing Service, for which I am Head of Inspection. Grappling with opposing views, or at least apparently opposing views on risk is not new to me.I argue that the Adventure Activity sector, at least, needs to take a wider perspective on the issue of risk whilst acknowledging that HSE, because of its mandate inherent in the Health and Safety at Work Act, by necessity must take a much narrower one. A lot of it is to do with language.No parent, teacher, activity provider is likely to say yes' in answer to the question Are you prepared to risk the safety of a child in your care? However, ask those same people a slightly different question, such as Do you think he child in your care should be exposed to challenges whilst in your care the answer is almost bound to be yes'. Now all we have to do is define what we mean by challenge'. In various articles, such as Language of Change I have defined it as having (at least) 5 key elements.1. A chance of benefit gain.2, A risk of loss or harm.3. Careful goal setting. Russian roulette is not a challenge, by this definition.4. A willingness to participate. If its not entered into willingly its not a challenge, its servitude!5. Physical or emotional activity outside the comfort zone.Thus risk is an inherent part of challenge, but they are not synonymous. You can however replace the word risk' with challenge' in almost every one of Tim's original arguments without in any way changing their meaning, only the extent to which the argument becomes socially acceptable. Children need challenge in order to develop. It is self-evident and manifestly socially acceptable. But because risk of loss or harm' is an INHERENT part of a challenge, we cannot cherry pick some parts and discard the rest.There is no notion of this in the Health and Safety at Work Act, and so, not surprisingly, no notion of it in HSE's narrow concept of risk reduction. Of course parents, teachers, and others recognize that accident prevention is only PART of keeping a child safe. They need, for example, to develop awareness, judgment, tolerance, even resilience. And keeping a child or young person safe is only part of nurturing their well-being. Love and attention, good relationships with friends and families, a sense of belonging and physical contentment are also essential ingredients. And finally well-being is only PART of happiness which many authorities, from the Dali Lama to the New Economics Foundation, acknowledge as perhaps the highest of human aspirations.We simply need to take the moral high ground when it comes to choosing the vocabulary of engagement. Challenge not risk, risk-benefit assessment not Risk Assessment, and well-being not accident prevention.


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