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Case 229 - Council concerned that vandals may get injured and sue whilst climbing over park fence

Issue

A local Councillor has approached the panel with this query - We have been closing an area of the park at dusk, where the toilets and play equipment are located, because of vandalism. Some councillors have challenged this on Health and Safety grounds, as the "vandals" may get injured whilst climbing over the fence and they believe that the council would be liable.

Panel decision

The Councillors are confusing legal requirements under health and safety law, with a fear of being sued. If a trespasser or vandal is injured while climbing a fence to gain unauthorised access to this park, this would not be a breach of health and safety legislation. Health and safety law is about taking action to control real risks - it is not there to interfere with sensible measures to prevent vandalism.

2013-12-06