Lewes- Newhaven raft race - giving up on risk

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I get extremely angry whenever I read that something has been cancelled on health and safety grounds.

What this really means is that an insurance underwriter with a fear that the organizers will be sued will impose restrictions that the organizers are unable to meet for either operational or financial reasons.

I worked as health and safety adviser for more than 25 years, often with organizations with complex risks. We did not throw in the towel when the going got tough. If we all did that, half of the companies in the world would not be operating. Where there are risks they can be managed.

There is far too much of a conkers bonkers mentality (stopping kids playing conkers at school). Why stop a postman from delivering mail to a cottage with a style to cross when nobody has slipped and fallen from the style in 200 years.

When looking at risk, we professional risk managers look at a number of factors. In the case of the raft race, I would look at how long the event had been running and how many accidents, deaths and injuries there have been over the period.

As I cannot recall reading about ‘carnage in raft race’ I’m assuming that the event has been relatively safe over the many years it has been running.

When are we going to stop blaming health and safety for the prevention of fun and lay the blame at real villains, the insurance companies who refuse to accept ANY risk, however small.

Finally the government appear to be getting to grips with the ‘ambulance chasers’ who see every slip, trip and fall as a license to print money.

Geoff Fitch, Risk manager (Retired), Stone Cross