Department of Education

Health and Physical Education

Health and Physical Education

Safety issues

High jumping

Most sporting activities involve some element of risk of injury to the person involved in instances where conditions are unsatisfactory.  It is necessary that all practical measures taken to minimise the risk.  The duty owed to students is not a duty to ensure that no harm will ever occur, but rather a duty to take reasonable care to avoid harm being suffered. 

Risk management involves the identification, evaluation, treatment and ongoing monitoring of a broad range of risks associated with all activities.

What constitutes reasonable care will vary according to the circumstances, but includes consideration of factors such as:

  • the nature of the environment
  • students’ capacity
  • activities to be conducted
  • equipment
  • capabilities of the supervisory team
  • supervision strategies.

Following is some guidance on specific activities which may take place in during Physical Education lessons and related activities.  These guidelines need to be considered within the context of the Risk and Business Continuity Management and Duty of Care for Students policies.

The Fosbury Flop is a legal and successful method of high jumping and is the technique practised by the majority of athletes throughout the world.

When executed correctly, the Fosbury Flop involves landing in such a way that initial contact with the landing surface is with the neck and upper back.  Clearly, there is an inherent danger and the risk of spinal injury in instances where technique is poor and/or where conditions for landing are unsatisfactory.

With correct attention to skill progressions, the identification of specific take-off points and the provision of a safe landing area, it is reasonable to assume that all foreseeable sources of danger associated with high jumping are removed.

The following guidelines should be addressed by schools in relation to the use of the Fosbury Flop:

  • supervising teachers should have had specific training in the use of the technique or should have a clear working knowledge of all aspects of the technique
  • specific take-off points should be identified and insisted upon
  • only round fibreglass bars (competition) or flexi-bars (training) should be used
  • at least four (and preferably five) standard polyurethane foam buns should be secured firmly together to prevent slipping. A top cover which is designed to fit securely over a four-bun configuration is recommended.

Suggested equipment layouts:


Safety issues

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