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Jamie Hailstone is a freelance journalist and author, who has also contributed to numerous national business titles including Utility Week, the Municipal Journal, Environment Journal and consumer titles such as Classic Rock.
February 15, 2019

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Bouncy Castle

Council highlights health and safety risks from bouncy castles

A council in Scotland has warned bouncy castle and inflatable play equipment suppliers to be aware of revised Health and Safety Executive (HSE) guidance.

bouncy castleEnvironmental health officers at Highland Council have written to operators and suppliers in its area to highlight the revised guidelines, which follow two tragic accidents last year.

One involved a child and an inflatable bouncy castle in Norfolk, and there was a separate incident on an inflatable slide at Woking where ten children were injured and taken to hospital.

The council also wants to ensure that all operators are able to demonstrate a practical appreciation and understanding of the risks associated with bouncy castles and inflatable play equipment.

After the two aforementioned incidents, Harlow MP Robert Halfon said an ‘urgent investigation’ was needed into the regulation of the inflatables.

Council officers have also highlighted that a public entertainment licence is required where bouncy castles are being provided for general public use and an admission fee is charged.


In order to assist licence applicants in demonstrating compliance with the revised HSE guidance, a checklist has been prepared by the council that will now require to be completed.

A copy of this checklist can be obtained from the licensing section on the council’s website.

“The use of inflatable play equipment should be safe and enjoyable occasions,” said the council’s Senior Environmental Health Officer, Gregor MacCormick.

“Recent tragic incidents’ involving such equipment highlights the significant risks that can arise where operators do not effectively manage their use.

“It is essential that operators consider all aspects of the revised HSE Guidance when planning and organising activities where inflatable devices are in use, and follow the equipment’s operating instructions,” added Mr MacCormick.

“Even if the activity has been run successfully for a number of years it is important to review safety arrangements to ensure they remain effective and take into account local circumstances and current best practice guidelines.

“Our service is keen to raise awareness of these issues in order to allow operators to review their arrangements in line with the revised HSE guidance ahead of the Spring/Summer period when such equipment will be in frequent use.”

The revised HSE guidance for bouncy castles and other play inflatables is available here.

Second fatal incident in two years sees MP call for bouncy castle ban in public areas

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