Case 282 - School garden bans cane supports for plants due to health and safety


The enquirer's wife works as a Teaching Assistant at a local Primary School. One of her duties is to look after the school garden and bamboo canes are being used to support runner bean plants. One of the school govenors has stated that for 'Health and Safety' reasons all the canes must have a ping pong ball on the end. This is so the children don't trip and impail themselves on the canes.

Panel decision

There is no health and safety law which specifies cane toppers as a requirement but the Royal Horticultural Society guidance recommends their use on canes which are lower than 1.8 metres high to avoid the risk of eye injuries. The decision to use cane toppers in a school garden therefore seems sensible but it is a pity that it was represented as a "health and safety requirement" rather than plain old common sense!