Accidents and mistakes may happen on visits – but fear of prosecution has been blown out of proportion leading to a fear of taking children and young people off site and outdoors.

HSE has made prosecutions in rare cases where there was evidence of recklessness or a clear failure to follow sensible precautions. However, it is important that employers and leaders do not interpret this as meaning that to avoid prosecution they must eliminate even the most trivial risks. Employers and leaders are expected to deal with risk responsibly and proportionately.

If an incident on a visit leads to the death or serious injury of someone, HSE will normally investigate. Most serious accidents on visits involve underlying management failures and HSE always looks for these underlying causes. HSE does not investigate incidents in response to civil claims.

If things do go wrong during a trip, provided sensible and proportionate steps have been taken, it is highly unlikely that there would be any breach of health and safety law involved, or that it would be in the public interest for HSE to bring a prosecution.

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