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HSE responds to Thame Gazette article - "Kids banned from using playground"

"Kids banned from using playground" - Thame Gazette, 7 May 2011
Response date:
11 May 2011

Dear editor,

I was disappointed to read (Thame Gazette, online, 7 May) that old excuse of "health and safety" being used yet again as the reason why pupils at John Hampden Primary School, in Thame, are being denied the opportunity to use play equipment - not least because there is absolutely no truth in this.

Oxfordshire County Council made clear in its own statements that the reason it has chosen to restrict children's access to climbing frames and other equipment is driven by (unspecified) insurance concerns.

Fears about being sued for liability are very different from occupational health and safety laws. The latter exist to prevent people from being killed, seriously injured or made ill by work activities.

The Health and Safety Executive wants to see children learn to deal with risk through play and adventure. Bumps and scrapes in childhood are part of the process of learning to deal with hazards in life. Most parents will agree that this is just common sense.

Yours sincerely,

Judith Hackitt
Health and Safety Executive

Updated 2012-01-13