Health and Safety Misintepreted!

#1
My childs sports day has been cancelled today because........................................................................................................................ The grass is damp!

Glad I took the afternoon off work to watch it then!

I was told that it would be a health and safety nightmare. I asked to see the risk assessment on which this was based and was met with a blank look. Its obvious to me that some people who quote Health and Safety have never read it, don't understand it and have no idea as to the purpose.

When I pointed out that more people had been injured through using pencils perhaps they should be banned as well? What about walking too and from school? or perhaps not breathing so they don't choke on a bee?
Give me STRENGTH!

Just going to sit down in a corner and breathe slowly and deeply
 
#2
Perhaps this was the application of good old fashioned common sense. If the grass is wet people get hurt-simple.

I trust my kids' teachers to be clever enough judge what is safe. If that requires a formal risk assessment or not doesn't bother me.

I wonder, does a Football ref do a RA before calling of a match due to waterlogged pitch?
 

Mr_Fingerz

LE
Book Reviewer
#3
Define damp.

Tewkesbury damp is very different to Dover damp this week.
 
#4
The thing is, the week before In the pouring rain they managed to hold a summer fair on the same grass with all sorts of running around activities which were far more "dangerous" than the activities planned for today. Also, one of the elements of risk is to identify the liklihood of an event happening and look at other cases of these sorts of injuries.
Also intersting that the place where it is too dangerous to have sports day is the same place that the children all run around doing unsupervised games during break time.
If the ground was waterlogged or sodden I would agree with you and if it was really too dangerous I would also agree with you. But, if it was, they would have shut the area off (which they can) and they haven't.
 
#5
Mr_Fingerz said:
Define damp.

Tewkesbury damp is very different to Dover damp this week.
Manchester Damp - which is a natural state of affairs !
I would call Tewkesbury marginally moist.
 
#6
devexwarrior said:
Perhaps this was the application of good old fashioned common sense. If the grass is wet people get hurt-simple.

I trust my kids' teachers to be clever enough judge what is safe. If that requires a formal risk assessment or not doesn't bother me.

I wonder, does a Football ref do a RA before calling of a match due to waterlogged pitch?
I believe they do something similar as they need to justify why it is called off.
 
#7
jimbojetset said:
My childs sports day has been cancelled today because........................................................................................................................ The grass is damp!

Glad I took the afternoon off work to watch it then!

I was told that it would be a health and safety nightmare. I asked to see the risk assessment on which this was based and was met with a blank look. Its obvious to me that some people who quote Health and Safety have never read it, don't understand it and have no idea as to the purpose.

When I pointed out that more people had been injured through using pencils perhaps they should be banned as well? What about walking too and from school? or perhaps not breathing so they don't choke on a bee?
Give me STRENGTH!

Just going to sit down in a corner and breathe slowly and deeply
If your kid had have slipped and broke something, due to the conditions, how would you have reacted?
Do you have a right to walk into a school and ask to see there risk assesment?
If more than one child got hurt how would the sports teacher fair out in these days of injury claims?
I understand you being pissed off, especialy after taking afternoon off. However in this day and age of legal challenges against almost everything including breathing, people in charge have to show caution.
Next time you speak to an Army PTI ask him about the crap he has to go through before say a cross country run or competition.
 
#8
If she had slipped and broken a bone of course I would have been upset. she is five. The activities they had planned could easily have taken place in the school gym.
Actually we do have a right to see any school policies and procedures and they should be open and transparent. The rationale behind good risk assessment should be how to do things as safely as possible not how to ban/stop things from happening. If they cannot be done safely then fair enough, but life is full of risk and to be honest when five year olds play random running games on the playground made of concrete its amazing they don't have a death a week!
I suspect that today they were hiding behind health and safety because essentially the teachers are winding down before the end of term and it would be easier not to do it. Don't get me wrong, her school is excellent for the most part and the teachers do an outstanding job. Just this one event has gripped me today!
I also think that the fear of litigation not the reality of litigation has got the better of a lot of schools.
 
#9
Are children allowed to run on concrete in the playgrounds? They'll be jumping, next.
 
#10
I think that we have to go with common sense on this one folks. Damp grass can and does cause serious injuries,just look at footballers playing in damp conditions and some of the injuries they get.They could have brought the little-uns indoors to the school gym although it might be a bit restricted for audiences etc etc.Safety comes first especially with young bones.
 
#11
jimbo - i agree completely with you. as a teacher and outdoor instructor it really grips me when people say 'oh theres a risk, you cant do it' ... yes the grass is damp, PERHAPS people might get hurt, but outright cancelling is exactly the misinterpretation you speak of ... to cancel the particularly hazardous activities - javelin for example (although they have probably banned that in school since my day!) - would be sensible, but please ... we are bringing up a generation of people too scared by hazard to actually do anything
 
#12
The problem does not lie with H&S, if you think it through it is ambulance chasing lawyers that are the problem. Teachers are , by def, intelligent people and I am sure they want the sportsday to go ahead. However if Timmy slips and twists his ankle/ dies the lawyers will be forming a disorderly queue to sue the education authority.
 
#13
They could have at least held the "'Which parent can wrap their child in the most cottonwool' event. :D
 
#14
is that really the cause though - and if so, how disgustingly alarming. noone will do anything soon out of fear of consequence ... did the Cockleshell Heroes play the same hand??

if the risks and hazards have been identified, assessed and managed (not outright cancellation) there can be no come back. come on - life is about taking controlled risks - we do seem to be in a culture where we give in to threats, however perceived. i think that is really sad, and in the long run the only people suffering are our children.

yes teachers are clever, yes they are pressured by Unions and yes they are scared of consequence ... a ridiculous situation to be in.
 
#15
762baynet said:
The problem does not lie with H&S, if you think it through it is ambulance chasing lawyers that are the problem. Teachers are , by def, intelligent people and I am sure they want the sportsday to go ahead. However if Timmy slips and twists his ankle/ dies the lawyers will be forming a disorderly queue to sue the education authority.
Too right! Actually happened at our place. We've got four claims against us in the pipeline at the moment from greedy parents, assisted by money-grabbing ambulance chasers. They range from an injury caused by being hit by a football in the yard, to one caused by falling off a chair by someone who was doing something he'd just been told not to do, but ignored the teached and stood on the chair anyway.

A risk assessment for a trip to Chester Zoo was sent back as we hadn't thought about the danger of children walking into lamposts because they were too busy looking at the animals. The whole issue has got so pathetic it makes my blood boil.
 
#16
dundrillin said:
762baynet said:
The problem does not lie with H&S, if you think it through it is ambulance chasing lawyers that are the problem. Teachers are , by def, intelligent people and I am sure they want the sportsday to go ahead. However if Timmy slips and twists his ankle/ dies the lawyers will be forming a disorderly queue to sue the education authority.
Too right! Actually happened at our place. We've got four claims against us in the pipeline at the moment from greedy parents, assisted by money-grabbing ambulance chasers. They range from an injury caused by being hit by a football in the yard, to one caused by falling off a chair by someone who was doing something he'd just been told not to do, but ignored the teached and stood on the chair anyway.

A risk assessment for a trip to Chester Zoo was sent back as we hadn't thought about the danger of children walking into lamposts because they were too busy looking at the animals. The whole issue has got so pathetic it makes my blood boil.
No mention of the Lions then?
As has been said, I think (personally) its a misunderstanding of the HandS regulations. I would have no problems at all if they had done a risk assessment and could demonstrate no safe way of doing it, however, I think that the fear element is playing too great a role. It would be interesting to see if any of the four claims against your school are upheld.
 
#17
TartanJock said:
I think that we have to go with common sense on this one folks. Damp grass can and does cause serious injuries,just look at footballers playing in damp conditions and some of the injuries they get.They could have brought the little-uns indoors to the school gym although it might be a bit restricted for audiences etc etc.Safety comes first especially with young bones.
I would perhaps agree if they were playing football where many of the "grass related" injuries tend to be running/sliding into contact with someone else. However, these are little ones and they (this year) are not actually doing any direct competition as such. I think what they do at the sports day for what they call infants is quite good, they are preparing them for when they are in juniors and start actually competing against each other with winners and losers, this year they are essentially getting them to enjoy the games themselves. Also as they chopped and changed the sports day due to (proper) bad weather earlier in the week I doubt many parents could have made it today.
To be honest, if they had actually risk assessed and then said no its not safe, I would have said fair enough. But, if the dampness was the case then why did the school allow the fair to go ahead in the pouring rain? Why do they allow the children to run around on the same grass during break time?
 
#18
hazard damp grass - control measure ban it!!
Kids sports days tend to involve running in straight lines with no major deviations likely to cause a slip or fall.
Risk assessments should be suitable and sufficient and have adequate control measures in place to reduce the risk of injury to the lowest practicable level not necessary eliminate it. Control measures if the school could be bothered - inspections of the area, wet weather programme, supervision, restriction of activities where the risk of slips are greater, the list goes on
 
#19
A lass I ken in Glasgow said the internal accident books in H&SE offices read like encyclopedias. Does this imply that the accident culture is a self perpetuating phenomenon?

Hmmmmm....
 
#20
I have to agree with some of the previous posts. As a former health & safety rep for one of the teaching unions, I find all too often that things like this happen not because the H & S regs say you can't do something, but because either they are either mis-interpreted or the school/local authority are so scared of litigation that they pull the plug "just to be on the safe side".

IMHO what we need is a more common sense approach, combined with a severe curb on the compensation culture that is currently strangling our society. To begin with, we need to call a halt to all these ambulance chasing "I slipped and fell on a wet floor 'cos I couldn't be bothered to look where I was going, so now I want lots of money" personal claim companies you see advertising on daytime TV all the time. They just make it all the harder for the rest of us, and particularly those with a legitimate claim for a genuine grievance.
 

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