David Ball | Thoughts on Risk and Public Safety

Playgrounds face new transatlantic threat

Recent proposals by the American Society for Testing Materials (ASTM) have sent shock waves around the world of children’s play. ASTM is one of the world’s largest international standards developing organizations. The ASTM Committee which deals with playground surfacing has recently proposed that the safety requirements for playground surfacing should be made more stringent. On […]

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Thoughts on European playground safety standards

With co-authors Bernard Spiegal, Tim Gill and Harry Harbottle, a new 2014 publication has been produced which takes a critical look at the impact of European play equipment safety standards upon play provision in the UK. Abstract: “The provision of stimulating and engaging play space for children and young people is increasingly recognized as an […]

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Further thoughts on the utility of risk matrices

This is a new paper, co-authored with colleague John Watt, and published in the journal Risk Analysis (2013, Risk Analysis 33(13): 2068-2078). It examines that widely-used tool the risk-consequence matrix, sometimes simply referred to as a risk matrix. These devices are everywhere and there are hundreds of versions around which vary mainly in the number […]

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Risk-Benefit Assessment: The Latest (August 2014)

With colleagues Tim Gill and Bernard Spiegal I have been working on ‘A short guide to implementing risk benefit assessment’ on behalf of the sponsors who are Play Wales, Play Scotland, PlayBoard Northern Ireland, Play England and other members of the Play Safety Forum. This guide has now been completed and is available here.  

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The sport of orienteering and safety – the debate

The following article was written by myself and son Laurence and was published in the orienteering journal CompassSport with whose permission it is reproduced here. The article originated from a blog which appeared after the last minute cancellation of an orienteering event in 2012. The blog contained some contrasting views about the cancellation e.g. Safety at […]

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The safety of trees

Trees are an essential part of our ecosystem and for most people are also things of beauty. As a part of their natural life cycle they shed branches and ultimately fall down. Very rarely, this may result in harm to property or individuals. These uncommon events tend to receive a lot of publicity, possibly because […]

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Reflections on the assessment and management of risk

The following is an article which appeared in the Activity Industries Mutual (AIM) Newsletter in autumn 2013, written by D. J. Ball and L. Ball-King, and which we reproduce here with permission of AIM.1 We are fortunate in being able to devote some of our work time to things in which we enjoy participating, namely, […]

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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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