Misguided “jobsworths” have turned playgrounds into joyless no-go zones and risk harming children’s education for fear of being sued, the chairman of the Health and Safety Executive, Miss Judith Hackitt, has warned.
It has been said that too often regulations were wrongly cited as an excuse, when the true reason included cost cutting and the creeping culture of risk aversion and fear of litigations, when denying youngsters the chance to have fun outdoors.
Miss Hackitt highlighted a litany of what she called “daft decisions” in recent years which has included ordering children to wear goggles to play conkers and banning running at a pancake race.
The HSE has worked with the Play Safety Forum to produce a joint statement that gives clear messages tackling any misunderstandings.
The statement makes clear that Play is important for children’s well-being and development and when planning and providing play opportunities, the goal is not to eliminate risk, but to weigh up the risks and benefits. It also highlights that accidents and mistakes happen during play – but fear of litigation and prosecution has been blown out of proportion
Miss Hackitt has sent a message to employers and other organisations “own your own decisions...Don’t use health and safety law as a convenient scapegoat or we will challenge you.”
Mofozzul Hussain LLB (Hons) -Office Manager (Birkenhead) and Personal Injury Solicitor