Find answers to frequently asked questions concerning the safety of playgrounds and recreational sports areas. The following topics cover liabilities, certification, and more. The answers provided are typical to Safe to Play trainings, as well as Safe to Play Encyclopedia; both app and book.
Frequently asked questions
Impact area – what is it?
Impact area is the ground under and around equipment requiring impact attenuation such as timber, grass, sand, gravel or rubber granulate.
Falling height – what is it?
Falling height is a technical value used to determined the proper impact attenuation for the impact area.
Impact attenuation – is it always needed?
No. When there’s no forced movement and the falling height is less than 60 cm, an impact area may be hard, such as paving (note: manufacturers might have more strict requirements).
Accidents – will they occur?
Yes, they do occur. This might feel bad, but it’s a reality. Considering that children are in the process of developing their motor skills and given that equipment for public use is often unsupervised, it’s somewhat impossible to eliminate all accidents.
Liability for safety – who bears it?
Overall responsibility lies upon the service provider, be it the municipality, housing company, or privately owned company. There must be a person whose task is to take care of all safety related issues from purchasing to maintenance.
Shelters – must they fulfill safety requirements?
No, but they must not be dangerous either. A shelter could be considered to be a public service, but their safety isn’t assessed using the safety requirements that apply to play equipment.
Small play areas – must they be inspected annually?
Of course! Another question is what’s inspected and by whom. If there’s only a sand box and a swing, it’s relatively simple task to check the hygiene of the sand, the wear of the bearings, and the condition of the impact attenuating surfacing.
Read more Small play areas – must they be inspected annually?
Private trampoline in a public space – can someone donate?
No. Trampolines, in general, are not meant for public spaces, which includes a housing company’s yard. Private-use trampolines usually have a light frame which is not designed for potentially rough public use.
Read more Private trampoline in a public space – can someone donate?
Making own equipment – is it allowed?
Yes, but then the maker assumes responsibility for the safety of the equipment for its entire lifespan. The proper construction of equipment is more challenging that one might think at first.
A tongue frozen to metal – who is liable?
Nobody. It seems that everyone has done this once. Some do it twice. This problem seems to occur most commonly at daycare centers in Northern countries. The reason could be as simple as the fact that a child’s first sub-freezing morning is most likely spent there.
Installing of play equipment – can I do it on my own?
Yes, however, some aspects should be taken into consideration. Proper installation is more challenging than it may first seem.
Read more Installing of play equipment – can I do it on my own?
Swings on grass – can it be installed there?
Yes and no… No: the impact attenuation of grass is normally considered to be 100 cm. Swings typically have falling height of 120 – 140 cm.
Accidents in daycare centers – is the manufacturer liable?
There are many more children in a daycare center’s yard than in a normal, public park. Children there are well acquainted with each other. In such an environment, the likelihood of accident occurring increases. This should influence the selection of equipment.
Read more Accidents in daycare centers – is the manufacturer liable?
Frozen impact area – does it matter?
Not really. When winter comes, surfaces everywhere tend to harden and become slippery, requiring more for careful movement. Impact on frozen surfaces is likely to result in more serious accidents, but as it seems, a natural instinct of self-preservation comes into play, as if to lessen likelihood of falling.
Safety sand has completely hardened – what to do?
Hard surfaces tend to begin at a depth of 20 cm. As time progresses, looser layers become thinner and thinner. Before sand’s ability to attenuate impact is reduced by too much, the hard layer must be broken up using a small shovel or garden cultivator.
Non-complying exercise equipment – what to do with?
The current situation with pre-2015 installed exercise equipment is similar to what occurred in 1999 with playground equipment, when EN 1176 standards were published for the first time.
Read more Non-complying exercise equipment – what to do with?
Spare-parts – should only original ones be used?
No, but for parts that are self-made, the repairer bears the manufacturer’s responsibility. Hence, the repairer must know the safety requirements and be sure that the result fulfills safety requirements.
Impregnated timber – can play equipment be manufactured from it?
Of course. The impregnation process must not contain chromium or arsenic, but copper that is a common reagent in green colored impregnation, is allowed. In fact, it’s not advised to manufacture equipment that will be exposed to the elements year-round from non-impregnated timber.
Read more Impregnated timber – can play equipment be manufactured from it?
Different surfacings – What is the best?
Different materials have different properties. None of them is the best in all aspects. But for each purpose, there are better and worse options.
Certification – is it mandatory?
Most often it is not, unless required by the order. However, it has irrefutable benefit in proving and keeping up with your own competence and understanding.
Certification – What’s the benefit from it?
Certification is an impartial and trustworthy process of ensuring the competence of the person. This can help new professionals to enter the market; especially if they want to work for public entities.
Safety inspections – who is allowed to conduct them?
Every person must be competent in what he or she does and different levels of inspections demand very different levels of competence.
Read more Safety inspections – who is allowed to conduct them?
Inspection of playgrounds – how to conduct them?
Visual and operational inspections are carried out according to a checklist that has been prepared by a competent person according to the needs of the specific areas in question.
Post-installation inspection – who is allowed to carry it out?
In general, everyone must be competent when completing their tasks – no matter what they are. In this case, it means knowing standards having the ability to carry out risk assessments.
Read more Post-installation inspection – who is allowed to carry it out?
If an accident occurs – what is the inspector’s liability?
It’s very likely that accidents will occur on the equipment which may have been inspected shortly before. Accidents aren’t necessarily anyone’s fault, but rather a consequence of bad luck.
Read more If an accident occurs – what is the inspector’s liability?