For the high Jump?

I WONDER who did the risk assessment for Channel 4’s The Jump? It will certainly have had one, as you can’t blow your nose in public these days without some jobsworth appearing with a clipboard and a stack of paperwork.

A string of celebrities have come a cropper on the ski-jump reality TV show, forcing the channel to hold a safety review. In a statement Channel 4 said it had asked the show’s producers to re-assess every event and training plan. It’s a bit late for that now isn’t it?

Olympic gymnast Beth Tweddle has had surgery on her neck after a fall on the show and Olympic swimming champion Rebecca Adlington and actress Tina Hobley have already withdrawn because of injury. Adlington suffered a shoulder injury while the Holby City actress dislocated her elbow and suffered two fractures to an arm.


Think ski jumping and the image that immediately pops up is that of the legend Eddie ‘the Eagle’ Edwards, who was involved in the first two series of The Jump. He was the first person ever to represent Great Britain in Olympic ski jumping and came to the world’s attention as an example of a heroic failure at the sport. Eddie suffered some spectacular injuries himself in his career including fracturing his skull twice and snapping a cruciate ligament.

He came out this week and said of the sport: “I told you it was flipping dangerous! Perhaps you’ll finally believe me. Ski jumping is a great deal harder than it looks”.

The trouble with Eddie was that he always looked like he was larking about, and it didn’t take the press long to nickname him Mr Magoo on account of his beer-bottle-bottom glasses. The Jump is being viewed by some as the most dangerous show on television. We’ll just have to wait and see how long it is before someone pulls the plug.

IS IT just me that thinks it’s odd that the UK is suffering from a continuous succession of storms? I’m sure the weather didn’t used to behave like this 10 years ago – and every passing shower didn’t have a name. We are constantly being battered by torrential rain and high winds and have been since Boxing Day. The latest, Storm Imogen, was determined to do her worst across the country. Trees were down, bridges were closed and there were no trains running in Cornwall. Spectacular photos are appearing all over the media of wild seas breaching defences and flooding streets all over the UK.

But that didn’t stop a primary school in the Solent taking their pupils for a walk on the beach. Dozens of windswept youngsters and staff were spotted stood at Hill Head near Fareham as waves hit the shore during the storm.

The children were said to be on an organised trip according to the Hill Head Coastguard, which tweeted a photograph of the group and described the scene as “amazing – one of the off-duty coastguards just saw this group of primary school children on the beach at Salterns. Primary school children on an organised trip – the waves are unpredictable and contain debris #StormImogen. Where was your child today?”

As you would expect there was a great deal of activity on social media from angry parents before Hampshire County Council issued the following statement: “Before the children were taken onto the beach, experienced and well trained staff carried out a risk assessment that included inspecting the site, testing the conditions and taking account of the Met Office forecasting. Staff followed well-established and comprehensive risk management strategies and policies for outdoor education and learning, in line with national guidelines from the Department of Education and the Health and Safety Executive”.

See – we’re back to risk assessment again.  Clearly the coastguard thought the activity was dangerous. Instead of the teachers carrying out a risk assessment, they should have used their common sense for once.

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Kevan Blackadder

Written by Kevan Blackadder

Kevan Blackadder is a media consultant who runs Blackadder Media Limited. Kevan was previously editor of the Gloucestershire Echo and assistant editor of the Bristol Post. A Cumbrian who moved to the South West “for a couple of years” in the 1980s, he can’t quite believe he’s been there ever since.

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