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Lord Young Defines Health and Safety ‘Common Sense’

Common Sense Report Aims to ‘Change Perception and Reduce Bureaucracy'; Industry Welcomes Opportunity to Engage as Thought Leaders

London, United Kingdom, October 30, 2010 --( Lord Young of Graffham, adviser to the government on health and safety, has defined ‘common sense’ as used in the title of his recent report Common Sense, Common Safety.

After speaking to insurance, legal and health and safety professionals in the Great Hall at the Chartered Institute of Insurers on October 25, Lord Young took questions from the floor. When he was asked by an audience member to define common sense, Lord Young said, “It’s something that you yourself would think. You know it when you see it. It is the things that you would normally do.”

His speech at the event, organised by Cardinus Risk Management and the International Institute for Risk and Safety Management, emphasised the need for legislation that is proportionate to the level of risk. “Nothing in my report affects health and safety in hazardous occupations. It aint broke,” he said. “Accidents and fatalities in the workplace are steadily declining. Yet despite the facts, health and safety was becoming a joke. So the essence of my report is simple: reduce the bureaucracy for low hazardous occupations and eliminate, as far as we can, the stories that delight newspaper readers at breakfast.”

Also speaking at the event was David Smith of Zurich Insurance’s broker division. Mr Smith told the audience that the industry was at first apprehensive about Lord Young’s report but now believes his proposals can be made to work. But he also warned against reducing valuable risk assessment tools to “check-box exercises.”

Gerard Forlin QC took to the podium and held up the HSE/IoD directors’ guidelines as an example of the kind of document that must not be diluted. “The reason why fatality numbers are falling is because there is fear,” he said. He warned against making changes that are not carefully thought through, adding, “Before you start taking things out, you have to ask why they were put in there in the first place.”

Jon Abbott, managing director – ergonomics and safety at Cardinus, said, “We welcome this debate and are pleased to be able to provide the forum. The conversations must continue and one area that must not be overlooked is the commercial benefit of a well-managed health and safety policy. It can improve productivity and reduce absenteeism. Business can be won and lost on the way you manage your health and safety and that message is at risk of being forgotten.”

Commenting on the event itself, Geoffrey Podger CB, chief executive of the HSE, said, “The forum and debate proved to be an excellent and stimulating occasion. It was good to see a lot of consensus in the room about removing bureaucracy from low risk situations.”

Several short video films from the event will be published over the next few days and a selection of photographs can be seen now at


Notes to Editors
Cardinus directors, experts and consultants are available for interview and quotes on industry issues. The full range of Cardinus consultancy services can be seen on its website, or you can telephone 0207 469 0200 (UK) 1-866-966-3420 (US).

About Cardinus
Cardinus is a member company of THB Group plc and provides online injury reduction solutions and risk management within the safety, fleet and property sectors.

Established in 1995, Cardinus has an enviable track record of working with government and leading blue chip organizations. Cardinus provides solutions to customers across the United Kingdom, the US and worldwide. Solutions include 'Workstation Safety Plus' a software solution designed to reduce the risks associated with using DSE and ergonomics; a comprehensive fleet risk solution that combines in-vehicle driver training with online self-assessment; property solutions including fire risk surveys, asbestos assessment and a range of e-learning courses. Cardinus Environmental provides a range of services, including Environmental Essentials.

Cardinus Risk Management Limited, Phoenix House, Cantelupe Road, East Grinstead, West Sussex RH19 3BE. Cardinus Risk Management Limited, 10 Flag Business Exchange, Vicarage Farm Road, Peterborough, Cambs PE1 5SL. For further information please call Cardinus Risk Management Limited on 020 7469 0200 or email
Contact Information
Cardinus Risk Mangement Ltd
Martyn Moore
+44 7768 261276

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