Over the last few years, 10 children have been tragically killed by falling goalposts. The majority of these cases have involved children being hit by substandard goals in Local Authority parks or on school playing fields whilst having a kick-about after school.
In July 2014, a football club in Powys pleaded guilty in the Crown Court to health and safety breaches following the death of a 12-year-old boy who was crushed by a metal goalpost whilst playing football with friends in July 2011. He was goalkeeper during a kick-about with friends when, as he went to make a save, his foot caught in the net and the goalpost then landed on his back. During the inquest into his death, the jury heard that the “freestanding” posts would have been unstable unless pegged to the ground.
In order to try to prevent similar tragedies from happening, a number of organisations including the Football Association and representatives from the companies that manufacture goals looked into how to improve the management of goal posts in the future. From this, a set of guidelines were produced and these are shown below:
- Goalposts of any size (including those which are portable and not installed permanently) must always be anchored securely to the ground. Permanent socketed goalposts should always be concreted in.
- Portable goalposts must be secured as per the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Under no circumstances should children or adults be allowed to climb on, swing or play with the goalposts.
- Particular attention is drawn to the fact that if not properly assembled and secured, portable goalposts may overturn.
- Regular maintenance and inspections should be carried out and records kept enabling the correction of faults found during inspection. Copies of a sample log book and inspection sheet can be obtained from your Ellis Whittam consultant.
- Portable goalposts should not be left in place after use. They should be dismantled and removed to a place of secure storage.
- Nets should only be secured by plastic arrowhead hooks, Velcro tapes or plastic clips and not by metal cup hooks.
- Home-made goalposts must not be used as they have been the cause of a number of deaths and injuries.
Any organisation that is considering purchasing goal posts should be aware that they should comply with the latest published British and European standards (BSEN 748 or PAS 36/2000). It is also important to check for any test certificates as the supplier should be able to give you evidence in the form of test certificates to show that their goals are suitable.
If any Ellis Whittam clients have concerns about which goalposts they should buy, or how to manage them safely, they should contact their Consultant who will be able to help them.