Flapping about Flapjacks
Canvey Island school bans triangle-shaped flapjacks – BBC News website 25 March 2013
This story has been updated during the day so I presume that it was not a mistake published a week too early. I am not convinced that the school has done a proper risk assessment and they may be making the situation worse.
A school’s decision to ban triangular flapjacks after a pupil was hurt has been labelled “half-baked” by the Health and Safety Executive.
It follows an incident at Castle View School in Canvey Island, Essex, when a boy was hit in the face by a flapjack.
Catering staff at the school have been told only to serve square or rectangular flapjacks.
The school said the “isolated accident” had led to a review of “the texture and shape of the flapjacks” provided.
I can see no evidence that this incident was properly investigated.
Was the child hit by a corner of a flapjack or an edge? If he was hit by an edge, the response has increased the danger because square flapjack have four edges as against three for the triangular flapjack.
If he was hit by a corner was he hit by one of the acute-angled corners or by the right-angled corner? Again if it was the right-angled corner that caused the injury, the school needs to be aware that square (or rectangular) flapjacks have four times as many right-angled corners as triangular flapjack.
Have they examined the aerodynamics of the different shaped flapjack? It may well be that the more symmetrical square flapjacks can be thrown more easily and a greater distance. If they can be thrown with spin (which is unlikely with triangular-shaped flapjack) square ones might actually do more damage.
Reducing the golden syrup content of the flapjack may cause them to fall apart on impact – possibly causing less damage. Likewise cooking them for less time will probably make them softer – as well as making a useful fuel saving that could reduce climate change.
I think the HSE is correct in saying that this response is half-baked. Perhaps the flapjack should be as well.