Thumbs up for risky play

23 August 2006

This afternoon the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) visited Somerford Grove Adventure Playground in Haringey – London's newest adventure playground – to launch its 'Sensible Risk' principles in London. Entitled 'Life is an adventure – Take a risk!' the campaign highlights the practical actions that sensible risk management should, and should not, be about.

The HSE said: 'Children encounter risks everyday; HSE recognizes that it is not possible to eliminate all risks. We believe that children should not be discouraged from taking part in activities that carry an element of risk, but rather the risks they do encounter should be sensibly managed. Those who organize such activities should not be put off by unnecessary paperwork.'

Nick Jackson, Director of Haringey Play Association said: "This initiative from the HSE could not have come at a better time. The middle of the school holidays is an excellent time to emphasise the importance of allowing children to judge risks in play for themselves. A good playground like Somerford Grove is one where there are no hidden risks, but children can see and understand what risks there are, such as a high rope swing, and learn that it can be fun to stretch their abilities and extend what they can do."

Five Steps to Risk Assessment and example risk assessments can be found on the risk management web pages on the HSE website. The pages are written in everyday language for managers, not health and safety experts and include links to more information and a section for frequently asked questions.