Visitor safety management is about balancing benefits and risks in order to provide overall benefit to society and individuals. It is not about creating a totally risk-free society or stopping important recreational and learning activities where the risks are considered and accepted.
Visitor safety management is about balancing benefits and risks in order to provide overall benefit to society and individuals. It is not about creating a totally risk-free society or stopping important recreational and learning activities where the risks are considered and accepted.[block_anchor] => [block_format] => custom_subnav [block_introduction_title] => [block_custom_subnav] => [block_section_heading] => [product] => [product_text] => )  => stdClass Object ( [block_count] => 1 [layout] => text_block [slug] => block-479a6e8b [title] => [source] => page [visibility] => 0 [background_colour] => bg-transparent [block_width] => full [width] => stdClass Object ( [container_class1] => container-fluid bg-transparent p-4 mb-4 [container_class2] => container [container_class3] => ) [class] => fcb-text_block [content] =>
Nevertheless we have a duty to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that visitors are not put at risk of harm. They should not be exposed to hidden dangers. The essence of sensible risk management is to focus resources on reducing the most serious risks. These are both those that occur most often and those that have the greatest potential for harm.
Some types of risk can be eliminated without having any adverse effect on benefits. Others can be reduced without significantly affecting people’s enjoyment.
When measures to reduce the risk of personal injury are also likely to significantly reduce the benefits we must ensure that they are sensible, proportionate and appropriate.
As well as taking into account the likelihood that someone may be injured and the seriousness of the injury which may occur, we should also consider the benefits to the individual and society from the activity which gives rise to the risk.
The benefits might include:
- public access to the countryside and coasts
- conservation of habitats, species, landscape and heritage
- opportunities for exploration and learning
- opportunities for reflection and recreation to enhance mental well-being and physical health.
The level of risk can be weighed against the level of sacrifice, in terms of time, trouble and money, needed to introduce measures to reduce the risk. We do not need to go beyond a point where the sacrifice is grossly disproportionate to the risk.
Of course we still have a responsibility to examine how deaths or injuries occur and consider what other methods of risk control may be appropriate and achievable.
Where risk arises from natural features, such as cliffs, rivers, streams, lakes, falling trees and rocks, it is not desirable to restrict access or take other measures that diminish the amenity simply from fear that an accident may result in prosecution or claim. People should be allowed to participate in leisure pursuits such as bungee jumping and water sports that are potentially hazardous.
“Responsible risk-taking should be regarded as normal, and we should not discourage members of the public from undertaking certain activities solely on the grounds that there is an element of risk. Excessive paternalism and concern with safety may lead to infringements of personal rights. Those who are competent to judge the risk to themselves should be free to make their own decisions so long as they do not threaten the safety of others .” Health and Safety Executive
The Health and Safety Executive also recognises that children will not learn how to judge risk if they are wrapped in cotton wool. It is important to strike the right balance between protecting children from the most serious risks and allowing them to reap the benefits of play. The possibility of even serious or life-threatening injuries cannot be eliminated, though they should be managed. Striking the right balance means focusing on and controlling the most serious risks, and those that are not beneficial to the play activity or foreseeable by the user .
Visitors should be aware of the risks they will face. They also need to understand that, although they have a right to appropriate protection, they also have a responsibility to behave sensibly and take reasonable care for their own safety and the safety of others. Safety is a shared responsibility between the visitor and land owner/manager.[block_anchor] => [block_format] => full_width [block_introduction_title] => [block_custom_subnav] => [block_section_heading] => [product] => [product_text] => )  => stdClass Object ( [block_count] => 2 [layout] => resources_block [slug] => block-577708aa [title] => [source] => page [visibility] => 0 [background_colour] => bg-transparent [block_width] => container [width] => stdClass Object ( [container_class1] => container mb-4 [container_class2] => bg-transparent py-4 [container_class3] => ) [class] => fcb-resources_block [resources] => Array (  => Array ( [resource_type] => link [resource_link] => Array ( [title] => 1 Health and Safety Executive’s Priorities for Enforcement of Section 3 of the HSWA 1974 – July 2003 (rev April 2015) [url] => http://www.hse.gov.uk/enforce/hswact/priorities.htm#natural viewed October 2019 [target] => _blank ) [resource_file] => )  => Array ( [resource_type] => link [resource_link] => Array ( [title] => 2 Children’s Play and Leisure – Promoting a Balanced Approach. Health and Safety Executive September 2012 [url] => http://www.hse.gov.uk/entertainment/childrens-play-july-2012.pdf viewed October 2019 [target] => _blank ) [resource_file] => ) ) [block_anchor] => ) ) 1
Become a member of the Visitor Safety Group
The content on this page is only available to VSG Members and Subscribers.
Join or subscribe today for:
- Expert advice and support from a friendly and welcoming network
- Unlimited access to full guidance on all safety topics
- Free PDFs of all our publications
- Free attendance at workshops and webinars
Already a member? Log in