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I attended the AJ's conference, 'Designing for Safety' and reading the report back (AJ 08.09.06), I have to say that Austin Williams hit the nail on the head with his comments about the tensions between the HSE industry and architectural practitioners.

Whether it was the HSE spokesman's line, or the presentations by 'independent' commentators, the official message seemed to suggest that we should all create audit trails for our own safety and to safeguard our PI insurance. It was almost as if health and safety was incidental.

Over-cautious health and safety concerns can breed a climate in our industry where no-one is prepared to take a risk in projects for fear of something, somewhere, going seriously wrong along the line.

The more self-preservatory and stand-offish we become in our approach to liability, the more accidents there will be and the more people will pretend not to see this. After all, no-one ever wants to be implicated.

Dan Jones, Bolton

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