Health and Safety Executive mentions Play Safety Forum in final report on health and safety reforms

14 Apr

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) last week mentioned the Play safety Forum (PSF) and High Level Statement on play, in its final report on the health and safety reforms it has taken forward under the current government. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/improving-health-and-safety-final-report-march-2015

Quote from p.13:

4    Education

Revised Department for Education health and safety guidance for schools and the generic consent form were launched along with an HSE High Level Statement on the application of health and safety law to school trips (July 11). HSE and the Play Safety Forum published a joint statement on striking a balanced approach when managing risk in play (July 2012). HSE continues to engage with the Play Safety Forum and their work to advocate effective policies and good practice for play provision. These changes in the education sector deliver a key objective in the Government’s health and safety reform agenda, stressing the benefit of extracurricular activities to pupils’ development, debunking myths about perceived barriers to such activities, and giving assurances to teachers over unfounded fears of prosecution in clear and simple language.

This is a really welcoTyre Dragonme recognition of the work the Forum has been doing over the past 12 years, starting with the Play Safety Forum (PSF) Position Statement published in 2002 under the wing of the Children’s Play Council (Managing risk in play provision: A position statement), followed by Managing Risk in Play: implementation guide in 2008 published by Play England supported by the BIG Lottery (Managing Risk in Play Provision: Implementation guide) ; then working with the HSE to produce the High Level Statement mentioned above (promoting a balanced approach) and finally the publication of the ‘Risk-Benefit Assessment Form’  (Download Word version (blank form)  an easy-to-use tool to support play providers to balance the benefits of an activity with any inherent risk, taking into account the risks while recognising the benefits to children and young people of challenging play experiences.

Girl hang swinging

In all these publications we have worked with the HSE, breaking new ground and long held, cherished beliefs in the absolute drive to reduce risk. In doing this work our aim has always been to increase the opportunities for children to play freely and widen those opportunities rather than allow risk aversion to reduce the delight and thrill of children’s play. Increasingly we have shared our beliefs with those responsible for Governance and Management within the HSE, which I believe now places the UK at the forefront of global thinking about the importance of risk in play.

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