David Ball | Thoughts on Risk and Public Safety

Safety management and public spaces

Following up on our paper on adventure activities, Wiley will shortly be publishing a more-broadly focused paper by David Ball and Laurence Ball-King which looks at the impact of safety management on public space and public activities. By public space we mean anything from city squares to parks, woods, forests, theatres, riverside locations, countryside, canals, […]

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Children and young people’s play

I first became involved professionally in children and young people’s play provision back in 1986 when working for the Scientific Branch of the Greater London Council. It happened by accident when some colleagues left and I was asked to absorb their activities into my own. I recall saying, ‘This is not going to take long […]

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Regulation and adventure activities

On 9 June 2012 John Wiley & Sons published in EarlyView format our paper (by Laurence Ball-King, John Watt and David Ball) describing the regulation of adventure sports over the last two decades since the Lyme Bay accident in 1993. In particular, the paper traces the history of the Adventure Activities Licensing Authority (AALA) which […]

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Barbican Conference on Health & Safety Reform

Public Service Events ran a one day conference entitled ‘Health and Safety Reform – reducing the burden of red tape,’ sponsored by ARCO at the Barbican on 26 April 2012. The conference was chaired by David Ball and had an impressive line-up of speakers including Andrew Miller MP (member of Löfstedt review panel), Judith Hackitt […]

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The risks of long distance running

This year’s London marathon saw the tragic death of Claire Squires. Subsequent media stories revealed that Claire’s was the eleventh such death since the event began in 1981. From this one can (in a sense) gauge the relative riskiness of marathon and long distance running as a sport. From 1981 until 2012 there have been […]

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Public Safety and Risk Assessment: New book out now

Public Safety and Risk Assessment: New book published in September 2011 by EARTHSCAN/Routledge. This book is the outcome of over 30 years of involvement with the public, public sector bodies, regulators and the academic community. It explains swathes of academic research from numerous disciplines including risk, economics, psychology, philosophy and decision making and applies them […]

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The Future of Risk Assessment?

Risk assessment is used to hugely-beneficial effect in many industries, ranging from off-shore oil and gas to nuclear and transportation. It is also used to plan for health epidemics, food safety and flooding. Generally the methods deployed are highly sophisticated, science-based and provide useful information for decision makers. In recent years risk assessment has also […]

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The Löfstedt review of 2011

From our perspective this report by Ragnar Löfstedt is both immensely welcome and dramatically  important. As was said in our evidence (by myself and Laurence Ball-King) to his Review Panel, the problems being experienced in relation to the safety of the public and the impact of safety measures on public life were not in our […]

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The Manchester Hole Case

This involved the tragic death by drowning of a young school boy while on an adventure holiday in Yorkshire. The school party was exploring an underground cave in Nidderdale known as Manchester Hole when the cave experienced an highly unusual flooding event. The case was brought by the Health and Safety Executive who sought to […]

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Risk-benefit assessment

The move to get risk-benefit assessment recognised as a suitable and sufficient form of risk assessment is gathering momentum but still has hurdles to overcome. It seems that some agencies do not want to concede that the benefits of public space and activities should be a primary consideration in determining how safety from injury decisions […]

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