Today marks a new phase in the move to a more balanced, thoughtful approach to risk management risk in children’s play and learning, with the launch of a short, easy-to-use assessment tool.
The risk-benefit assessment (RBA) form for the first time gives councils, schools and others an authoritative, practical document to help them weigh up risks and benefits. It is published by Play Scotland in partnership with Play England, Play Wales and PlayBoard Northern Ireland, and was commissioned and developed by the Play Safety Forum.
Yesterday’s Daily Mail ran a story about risk with a familiar headline: “Schoolchildren compensation claims for playground injuries running into millions, with thousands paid out for falling over or getting hit by a ball.” In fact, the headline was highly misleading, as the claims did not just cover playgrounds. Nonetheless, on the face of it some of the incidents – an eye injury from a ball, or a fall on snow and ice – suggest an over-reaction (though even here, the devil is in the detail). Whatever the truth about the level of claims, fear of litigation is a big driver of risk aversion around children’s play, as I know from my talks and workshops. So how should schools, councils, charities and businesses respond to this fear?
The Health and Safety Executive – the nation’s safety regulator – is so often the fall guy for everything that is wrong about the way risk is managed. But last week I heard an anecdote that brought home to me – in an unexpected way – the positive role HSE is playing in building support for a balanced, thoughtful approach to risk in children’s play. I was running a workshop on risk-benefit assessment at a playwork conference, and one of the participants – a manager of an after-school club – shared a revealing story. It begins last September, with a boy breaking a limb.
Posted in Outdoor play, Parenting, play, Public policy, Risk
Tagged child accidents, Health and Safety Executive, HSE, injury, parenting, Play Safety Forum, public policy, Risk, risk assessment, risk benefit assessment
I see what you did there. So I take it you are not about to share another crazy story about kids being wrapped in cotton wool.
Indeed not. Today is a good day for getting rid of the white fluffy stuff. You see, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has launched a statement that promotes a balanced, thoughtful approach to safety in children’s play.
Posted in Education, Learning, Outdoor play, play, Play spaces, playground, Public policy, Risk
Tagged Health and Safety Executive, HSE, Play Safety Forum, public policy, Risk, risk assessment, risk benefit assessment
I have been invited to Buckingham Palace in November, to discuss with the Duke of Edinburgh how to promote a more balanced approach to risk and adventure in children’s lives. And I’m asking for your help in deciding what to say to him. Continue reading
…in the September 2011 issue of Safety & Health Practitioner magazine, that is. Continue reading
Judith Hackitt, head of the Health and Safety Executive, was right recently when she said that the muddle about health and safety cannot be laid solely at her door. To take one example: no credible organisation has ever advised that egg boxes and toilet roll holders should be banned from the classroom. The HSE itself has labelled the ban one of its ‘myths of the month’. Yet despite this, many early years teachers and childcarers are convinced that egg boxes are a biological risk too far.
However, the HSE remains at the very centre of the mess. Continue reading