Don't Learn Safety by Accident

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Were you a proud member of the Tufty Club as a child? Or was the Green Cross Code man your safety guru of choice? Or perhaps your memory goes back as far as the early public safety films starring a young boy and his slightly scary cat, Charley, with a penchant for playing with matches.

Some of these public safety initiatives of years gone by may have contributed to the undeserved reputation of health and safety as an unnecessary ‘big brother’, breathing down the neck of anyone who wants to have a bit of ‘fun’.  We’re just a bunch of killjoys, aren’t we?  Not exactly.

Absafe is a local charity dedicated to saving lives.  At our HQ, ‘The Safe’, we’ve created a funfair to make learning about safety and risk assessment an experience to remember. 

At ‘The Safe’, anyone from age four to 104 can cast off their cotton wool, subject themselves to risk and be ‘killed’ in various fictional accidents.

By experiencing dangerous situations, visitors learn to make safe decisions and mitigate the risks they’re exposed to in day-to-day life. 

Dame Judith Hackitt, chairwoman of the Health and Safety Executive said that coping with risk and danger is crucial to a child’s education.

She added: “Children should learn to handle risk from a young age as this will lead to young adults who are well equipped to deal with the realities of the world around them.”

Health and safety learning is a key part of the curriculum for excellence in schools and is taught from nursery age right through to secondary level.

Carly Neave, who is a primary one teacher at Elrick school in Aberdeenshire, said: “The ability to assess and understand risk should be embedded in behaviour from an early age.  The Curriculum for Excellence states children should be able to ‘assess and manage risk’, but this can be a difficult thing to achieve in a classroom environment. 

“The Safe is a fantastic facility and is something we could only previously dream about – with real life scenarios, immersive and engaging lessons and the ability to measure the learning outcomes with each visit.  We share Absafe’s philosophy, that it’s not about putting up fences, it’s about understanding how to make safe choices.”