Risk benefit assessment in practice


Risk benefit assessment in practice
October 2016


Play professionals are well versed in taking a risk-benefit approach to assessing a play environment. But how does this stand up in case of an injury claim? Hackney Play Association recently found out.

A child suffered an injury to her fingers as a result of trapping them in a door during a game that children had invented, during an open access play session.  HPA successfully contested the claim for injury to fingers on the basis of Risk-Benefit Assessment, Nicola Butler, Chair of Hackney Play Association reports on the Play Safety Forum website that the case has been closed as the claimant has withdrawn their claim.

During the legal correspondence a number of issues were raised, in which we had to argue our case based on RBA. These included:

  • Whether our staff should have allowed the children to play a game that the children had made up themselves, which the children called ‘Scare Chase’
  • Whether our staff ratio and supervision of the children was adequate.

We argued that the answers to both of these questions was ‘yes’ based on Risk-Benefit Assessment, playwork training and the Playwork Principles.

When we provided the copy of Managing Risk in Play Provision: Implementation guide, and explained that this was the national guidance for play providers endorsed by a wide range of key stakeholders, including the Health & Safety Executive, this proved pivotal in persuading our insurers (Zurich) to contest the claim (and not to settle out of court).

When we provided the copy of Managing Risk in Play Provision: Implementation guide, and explained that this was the national guidance for play providers endorsed by a wide range of key stakeholders, including the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), this proved pivotal in persuading our insurers (Zurich) to contest the claim (and not to settle out of court).

We were also able to evidence that our policies, procedures and staff training were based on Risk-Benefit Assessment. Another key document was our Health & Safety Policy that sets out the importance of children being able to take risks in their play and states explicitly that we use RBA.

For the full article go to the Play Safety Forum website.

Play Safety Forum website.
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