Bonkers about safety conkers

Back in 2004, a Cumbrian head teacher decided he’d had enough of filling in “health and safety” forms before pupils could go on school trips.

In a satirical attempt to prove a point about what he saw as unnecessary “health and safety” restrictions on school activities, the head teacher got the kids to wear safety goggles, let them play conkers and invited the local press to watch.

The joke backfired.

In true Chinese Whispers style, word travelled across the media faster than a monkey up a chestnut tree. Before long, schools up and down the country were making children wear protective gloves and goggles or even banning conkers on “health and safety” grounds.

Keen to dispel the myth and bring some common sense into the equation, the Health and Safety Executive said that the risk from a game of conkers was “incredibly low and just not worth bothering about”.

“If kids deliberately hit each other over the head with conkers, that’s a discipline issue not health and safety”.

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