The safety of outdoor areas is a dynamic, sometimes downright turbulent field. How so?
1) The standards are updated every 8 years on average. The standards within the scope of S2P certification are therefore updated twice a year on average! The standard EN 1176-10 for fully enclosed play equipment will be published at the time of this writing. Around the corner, the ballgame arena standard EN 15312 and the general safety requirements for sports equipment EN 913 await their own revisions.
2) New interpretations are published as a result of standards being used differently in different countries, and at least one is unwilling to find a compromise. The interpretation can be official, in which case it represents the view of the whole of Europe. Or the interpretation can be private, perhaps the view of one expert, one equipment manufacturer or, say, one certifier.
3) Jurisdiction comes into play from time to time when a private person suffers injury and feels that they are entitled to compensation. Or maybe an insurance company decides to demand compensation from the owner of the area for the compensation they paid for someone’s injury. At this very moment, some individuals believe that the one who is responsible for the safety must always pay compensation when an injury occurs.
4) Practices change when what was the latest 20 years ago gives way to new and more efficient tools. For example, inspection reports written on paper belong to past and reports compiled into a Word document are only used by an ever-decreasing number of inspectors.
5) Safety philosophies change, though slowly. The risk assessment methods introduced by the first experts some 15 years ago are gradually gaining more recognition. For example, standard EN 913 will have a new appendix on risk assessment. And the European technical report, according to which the inspector must know risk assessment, is being updated into ISO 24665.
Safety managers of a municipality, a city, a maintenance company, etc. clearly has a hard job to stay up to date! The S2P certification also helps, because the Safe to Play Encyclopedia is part of all annual paid certifications from the beginning of 2023, and the free update webinars offered by Safe to Play for S2P certified experts make the most significant changes easy to understand.
Whether your employer is private or public and your safety related task is big or small, you are welcome to be part of the ever-growing group of Safe to Play experts!