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Health and Safety Executive's new strategy shows the way to a common-sense approach to safety at work

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is to launch a new strategy for a 'common-sense' approach to risk at work.

The Executive claims the most effective way to improve health and safety in workplaces is not ‘through banning flip-flops' but encouraging senior management to show leadership on the issue and sign a pledge to improve health and safety in their organisations.

Judith Hackitt, chair of the HSE, said: "HSE is not and never will be ‘the fun police'. Our new strategy shows the way towards a common-sense attitude to health and safety. As regulators, our approach to business will be proportionate to the risk they present and their approach to managing it.

"We are calling on employers and business owners to take the lead themselves in preventing the thousands of deaths every year that are caused by work - it is their moral and legal duty and it is good for the business."

The HSE found, on average, employees think 3,000 were killed or seriously injured in the workplace in 2008 - when the figure stands at 45 times higher, at 137,000.

Commenting on the strategy, which has the support of the TUC and the Local Government Association's human resources panel, James Purnell, secretary of state for work and pensions, said: "There are too many clichés about the role of health and safety in our society. But amidst ridiculous myths about banning donkey rides and flip-flops, the fact is that too many people are still needlessly killed or injured.

"The new HSE strategy recognises that a significant challenge now faces everyone with a stake in health and safety. We need to do everything we can to drive down the toll of death and injury."