Health & safety myth of the month


During the recent cold snap, many of us experienced this winter’s first significant accumulation of snow. Whilst the white stuff does of course pose very obvious dangers such as hazardous driving conditions, there have been numerous media reports suggesting that one of the seemingly more enjoyable activities of the adverse weather conditions, snowball fights, are also a real health and safety risk.

Many schools have taken the decision to ban altogether what was once viewed as an innocent childhood activity, fearing that pupils may suffer injury.

So is this a sensible move on behalf of schools or another example of the seemingly ever growing sense that our children must be wrapped up in cotton wool? We’re inclined to suggest it’s the latter.

Whilst good health and safety is, of course, about managing risks to reduce the likelihood of accidents occurring, it’s also about evaluating them within the context of the real dangers actually posed. As the Health and Safety Executive states, if we dedicate too much time and effort to protecting children from trivial risks, there’s more chance that we’ll miss the serious ones. Surely this must pose a far greater risk than a few pelts of snowballs!


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