Inspection of permanently installed outdoor fitness equipment
More and more open-air public spaces are being used for the practice of sport in our cities. These spaces can be found in parks, gardens or public avenues that are often close to playgrounds where children between the ages of 0 and 14 spend their free time playing.
Although this equipment or these spaces, which are called “geriatric parks or parks for the elderly”, “outdoor fitness areas”, “cardio-fitness areas”, “calisthenics”, etc., are actually intended for young people and adults, or for anyone taller than 1.4 m, the fact is that these “fitness parks” are used by all age groups, even though there is no guarantee that the facilities meet the minimum safety standards.
This is due to the fact that the regulations governing these types of sports products only date back to 2015, i.e. it is a relatively new European standard.
All this has meant that much of the permanently installed outdoor fitness equipment installed prior to that year or manufactured prior to 2015, were not designed in accordance with current regulations and this has generated and is even now generating real headaches for managers, both in private companies and in the public authorities. Some of this permanently installed outdoor fitness equipment, due to its design, does not comply with and cannot be adapted to the new regulations in force. In some cases, having such permanently installed outdoor fitness equipment in places where children can access and use it in their daily lives entails an important risk.
Risks exist – and in recent years accidents have been detected, even fatal ones – either because of a poor installation, because such equipment does not comply with current European regulations, there is no proper inspection and maintenance management, or even because certain basic rules and good practices are not respected.
Companies, irrespective of whether they are manufacturers, importers or park managers, must ensure that what they put on the market is safe, and that they are able to guarantee its safety throughout its life cycle.
By being able to routinely and annually inspect how such training equipment works, and by carrying out adequate management thereof, it is possible to avoid risks and important incidents caused by their use and their close location to playgrounds.
Through our inspection service and under the umbrella of our ENAC accreditation, we carry out the following tasks in areas containing permanently installed outdoor fitness equipment:
- Assessment of the safety requirements of each piece of fitness equipment.
- Review of the instructions for use and the functionality of each piece of fitness equipment, safety information, etc.
- Review of the marking of fitness equipment.
- Assessment of the installation: foundations, safety spaces, signage, signposting of the area itself, etc.
- As well as maintenance management and routine inspections of the “fitness park” itself.
Services in the inspection of permanently installed outdoor fitness
Inspection of permanently installed outdoor fitness equipment , as well as the installation itself in accordance with European standards:
- EN 16630 “Permanently installed outdoor fitness equipment. Safety Requirements and Test Methods”
- EN 1177 ““. Impact attenuating playground surfacing. Methods of test for determination of impact attenuation”
Benefits of having properly inspected outdoor fitness areas
- Being able to offer this inspection service guarantees that our client will have an outdoor fitness area with added value, due to the fact that it has been inspected by an external body.
- The areas that the company manages, whether it is a private company or a public authority, will be recognised as safe.
How we conduct inspections of outdoor fitness areas
- The safety requirements for each piece of permanently installed outdoor fitness equipment. Including: the finishing of the equipment, entrapments of different parts of the body, connections, fastenings, foundations, etc.
- The installation before the outdoor fitness area is set up. Once the outdoor fitness equipment, along with the surface, has been installed, it is verified and certified in order to be able to open the sports area for public use.
- The correct functioning of the outdoor fitness equipment, as well as the impact attenuation properties of the surface included within the impact area of the outdoor fitness equipment.
- The management system that is implemented by the person responsible for the outdoor fitness area, in terms of visual and routine maintenance and inspections of its operation.
Our experience in inspecting outdoor fitness areas
AIJU, which has been working to ensure the safety of children since 1986, is a national and European reference centre for the safety of children’s and leisure products. It helps its customers to place products on the market that are safe and comply with the European Directive on General Product Safety 1801/2003, which applies to all Member States of the European Union and is transposed at national level.