Many of the goal frames used in Ireland are unsafe because they are improperly designed, manufactured, or installed (unstable and are either unanchored or incorrectly anchored or counterbalanced). These goal frames have caused three child fatalities in Ireland in the last three years. Similar experiences are reported in the U.K., US and Australia. In addition they also report a large number of injuries requiring hospitalisation associated with goal frames. These injuries, more than likely, occur in Ireland also but are not recorded.
The issue of goal frame safety is far from a new one, and as long ago as 1991, the BBC’s ‘That’s Life’ programme, with Esther Rantzen, highlighted the problem.
Many of the deaths were caused by the goal frames tipping over on to the victim. Others resulted from the mechanical failure of improperly designed or maintained crossbars. Almost all of the goals involved in these incidents were homemade and not professionally manufactured to an appropriate design specification or recognised technical standard.
Risk assessment in Community and Comprehensive Schools
In May of 2003, the State Claims Agency carried out an assessment of goal posts in a sample of Community and Comprehensive Schools.
The objective of the assessment was to:
- establish the type and number of goal frames in use
- establish the extent to which the goal frames meet relevant safety standards (where such standards exist)
- identify deviations from such standards where noted
- identify risks associated with unsafe goal frames and the source of these risks (i.e. caused by poor design, incorrect installation, lack of maintenance, improper storage etc.
Based on the State Claims Agency assessment of goal frames, this report sets out risk management recommendations for purchasing, installing, erecting, dismantling and maintaining goal frames.