26 September 2023

Playground incident prompts parents’ advice

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Parents and carers are being urged not to assume that play centres are safe just because they are in a business environment, following an incident over the Easter long weekend.

Work Health and Safety Commissioner, Jacqueline Agius said that, over the long weekend, a child fell from a significant height at a children’s play centre and suffered minor injuries.

Commissioner Agius said some businesses asked parents or carers to sign a waiver that stated the parent or carer was responsible for the supervision and safety of the child using the centre, but “under the WHS (Work Health and Safety) laws this is not correct”.

“Persons conducting a business or undertaking have a duty to ensure that workers and others at the workplace are not exposed to risks to their health and safety, this includes children at the premises,” she said.

“Like any workplace, operators of children’s play centres must fulfil their WHS obligations.

“The safety of children must be of the utmost importance for operators of these facilities.”

Commissioner Agius said under WHS laws there were duties owed to children at these workplaces, the same duties that were owed to workers.

She said it was very distressing to know that a child had not been kept safe from a significant fall over the long weekend and wished them a speedy recovery.

“Unfortunately, these incidents are more common than the ACT community realises and can cause much more severe injuries to children than in this case,” she said.

“We urge parents and carers to closely inspect these centres and supervise their children and notify us where risks to workers or children are not being taken seriously enough.”

Commissioner Agius said WorkSafe ACT was conducting appropriate enquiries into the Easter long weekend incident.

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