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A small but potentially significant win for risk benefit assessment

How often do you hear that the ‘health and safety culture’ cannot be resisted? That fear of litigation makes people unwilling to accept the slightest possibility of accidents or injuries? The implication is that risk benefit assessment (RBA) – the balanced approach to risk management that I and others have developed – is a waste of time.

My response – that RBA is making a difference, and that the legal benchmark is to be reasonable, not to eliminate all risk – is sometimes met with scepticism or cynicism. “That may be true in theory,” the argument goes. “But in practice, as soon as a child is hurt and a claim comes in, the lawyers and the insurers just pay out, no matter what the merits of the case.”

This is why I am pleased to share the news that the charity Hackney Play Association has successfully fought off a claim after a playground accident, and that RBA was crucial to the outcome. The details were released yesterday on the Play Safety Forum (PSF) website – see below.

The case does not set a legal precedent (unlike the British Columbia decision I shared earlier this year). But it is concrete evidence that RBA is making a real difference where it matters most: in the aftermath of a playground accident. It also reinforces the view that RBA is a sensible approach: a view shared by none other than the Health and Safety Executive.

All of which is invaluable ammunition for anyone who wants to stand up to the ‘health and safety culture’ and fight for a more balanced, thoughtful take on risk in play.

The Case

On the 21st of March 2014 a child suffered an injury to her fingers as a result of trapping them in a door at an open access play…

For more: Case – Play Safety Forum

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Author: Tim Gill 

Photo Credit: photo from Rethinking Childhood

Author: Tim Gill

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