UK Play Safety Forum: Benefit-risk and the new ISO (Free online webinar)

UK Play Safety Forum webinar on benefit-risk and the new ISO

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This free webinar will help play and leisure professionals understand and use a ground-breaking new international standard on risk management in sports and recreational facilities, activities, and equipment (including children’s play).

The standard (ISO 4980:2023) marks a welcome shift to a balanced, thoughtful approach to safety in play and leisure contexts. It draws on the expertise of leading UK and global play safety advocates and is in tune with the Health and Safety Executive position on children’s play, as set out in its 2012 high level statement.

The webinar, organised by the UK Play Safety Forum and hosted by Play Scotland, brings together key UK experts to introduce the ISO and why it matters. Crucially, it will help you put this new standard into practice, ensuring that the benefits of play and leisure activities (to participants and to society) are properly recognised, and that the risks are managed in a proportionate way.

The speakers:

David J Ball

David Ball is Professor of Risk Management at Middlesex University and Director of its Centre for Decision Analysis and Risk Management. He has worked with the children’s play sector since the 1980s and has been an adviser to the UK Play Safety Forum since its inception in 1993. He has authored/co-authored academic papers, research reports and policy documents on play including: ‘Playgrounds – risks, benefits and choices’ for HSE Books in 2002; ‘Managing risk in play provision – implementation guide’ for the Play Safety Forum (2012); ‘Children’s play space and safety management: rethinking the role of play equipment standards’ with Bernard Spiegal, Tim Gill and Harry Harbottle in Sage Open (2014); and ‘Health, the outdoors and safety,’ with Laurence Ball-King in Sustainability (2021). From 2018 he was the UK delegate to the International Standards Organisation working group on ‘Benefit-risk assessment for sports and recreational facilities, and equipment’ whose work was published in 2023 as ISO Standard 4980.

Tim Gill

Tim Gill is a global advocate for children’s outdoor play and mobility, and an independent scholar, writer, and consultant based in London. He is the author of Urban Playground: How child-friendly planning and design can save cities (RIBA Publications) and No Fear: Growing up in a risk-averse society (described in the New York Times as “a handbook for the movement for freer, riskier play”).

A UK Design Council Ambassador and Churchill Fellow, Tim has been involved in the UK Play Safety Forum for over 25 years, and became its chair in 2021. His website is

Harry Harbottle

Harry has been involved in campaigning on children’s issues for nearly 40 years including many aspects of play at a European level since 1986, when he was appointed as an independent expert on child safety and play to the European Commission and through chairing the European Union’s Consumer Consultative Child Safety Committee from 1994 – 2000.

During the 80’s and 90’s he sat on the European Standards Institution’s Committees drafting standards for Toy Safety and Playground Equipment Safety. It was at one of the playground safety meetings in 1989 that he first heard the phrase, “As much play value as possible, as much safety as necessary,” which became a mantra for campaigning for better balance between risk and benefit.

He joined the board of Play Scotland in 2009 and served as chair from 2013-2020.

Firmly convinced of need to move along the road from accessibility to inclusion, Harry was heavily involved in the first European Standards Organisation’s report on play and inclusion: ‘Playground Equipment Accessible for All Children’, published in 2013.

Harry is currently a member of the International Standards Organisations working groups on ‘Benefit Risk Assessment in Sports and other Recreational Facilities and Equipment’ and ‘Framework for the Competence of Playground Inspectors and Maintenance Technicians’. With Theresa Casey, he co-wrote ‘Free to Play. A guide to creating accessible and inclusive public playspaces’, commissioned by the Scottish Government.

Andy Yates
Andy Yates is Technical Director of HAGS, a leading supplier of children’s playground equipment and associated products. As an ambassador for HAGS and for the children’s play industry as a whole, Andy has sent his whole career championing the benefits that play provides for children and the wider community.

Andy is currently Chair at CEN’s, European Technical Committee for Children’s Play – TC 136/SC 1 and has been a member of the UK Play Safety Forum for the last 30 years.