Although the figures that we have concerning accidents in children’s playgrounds are not excessively alarming, it is nevertheless necessary to raise awareness of the risks that stem from the conditions of our children’s playgrounds and to adopt the most appropriate measures to prevent such accidents and injuries, which are mainly due to poor installation of playground equipment, insufficient inspections and a lack of maintenance in the playgrounds themselves.
Playground equipment and surfaces must be installed safely, and they must be inspected by a competent person who knows which safety requirements apply to each playground equipment, since even though playground equipment may be certified and assessed, that does not necessarily mean that it is safe once it has been installed.
This is why one of the most important and key aspects for minimizing risks in playgrounds is ensuring that playground equipment is properly installed, adequately maintained and that regular annual inspections are carried out by an entity accredited by ENAC.
This is a factor that often leaves a lot to be desired, as any citizen can see that the maintenance and state of conservation of many playgrounds is still manifestly improvable.
The annual main inspection and certification of playgrounds, as recommended by regulation standard EN 1176-7 “Playground Equipment and Surfacing. Part 7: Guide for installation, inspection, maintenance and use”, inspecting both playground equipment and impact attenuating surfacing , and all the ancillary items located in the playground itself, adds the value and safety that it is important and necessary that you as a manager should ensure.
In addition, we perform post-installation inspection, which takes place before the playground is opened to the public and is designed to assess the equipment and its environment in order to determine the overall level of safety of the playground before use.
Services in the inspection of playgrounds
We are an entity that is accredited by ENAC to inspect and certify children’s playgrounds, in accordance with applicable European standards and applicable Autonomous Community Decrees and national standards. And we carry out inspections according to the following standards:
- EN 1176-1 “Playground Equipment and Surfacing. Part 1: General safety requirements and test methods.”
- EN 1176-2 “Playground Equipment and Surfacing. Part 2: Additional specific safety requirements and test methods for swings.”
- EN 1176-3 “Playground Equipment and Surfacing. Part 3: Additional specific safety requirements and test methods for slides.”
- EN 1176-4 “Playground Equipment and Surfacing. Part 4: Additional specific safety requirements and test methods for cableways.”
- EN 1176-5 “Playground Equipment and Surfacing. Part 5: Additional specific safety requirements and test methods for carousels.”
- EN 1176-6 “Playground Equipment and Surfacing. Part 6: Additional specific safety requirements and test methods for rocking equipment.”
- EN 1176-7 “Playground Equipment and Surfacing. Part 7: Guidance on installation, inspection, maintenance and operation.”
- EN 1176-10 “Playground Equipment and Surfacing. Part 10: Additional specific safety requirements and test methods for fully enclosed play equipment.”
- EN 1176-11 “Playground Equipment and Surfacing. Part 11: Additional specific safety requirements and test methods for spatial network.”
- EN 1177 ““. Impact attenuating playground surfacing. Methods of test for determination of impact attenuation”
- Decree 127/2001 of 5 June of the Government of Andalusia.
- Decree 245/2003 of 24 April of the Government of Galicia.
- UNE 147101 IN “Playground equipment. Guide to the application of standard UNE-EN 1176-1”,
- UNE 147102 IN “Playground equipment. Guide to the application of standard UNE-EN 1176-7 for inspection and maintenance”
- UNE 147103 “Planning and management of outdoor playgrounds “
- UNE 172001 IN “Signposting in playgrounds”.
Benefits of having playgrounds properly inspected and certified
The fact that we can provide an inspection service in play areas, implies an external verification by a third party, which provides added value and recognition for the management system that is being implemented by the person or entity responsible for the playground, whether that is a public or private administration, a manufacturer, maintenance company, restaurant, school, farm manager, etc. They thereby ensure that they are offering their most vulnerable public a safe and controlled playground.
How we conduct playground inspections
An annual main inspection is performed to check the overall safety level of equipment, foundations and surfaces. For example, compliance with the corresponding part or parts of Standard EN 1176 is assessed, including possible variations made as a result of the assessment of safety measures, the effects of inclement weather, the presence of rot or corrosion, and any variation in the safety level of equipment that has been repaired or to which elements and/or parts have been added or replaced.
Playground equipment and playgrounds must be inspected by competent technicians and accredited by an external entity, such as the ENAC (the National Accreditation Entity). During the annual and/or post-installation inspection, qualified and accredited AIJU technicians review the following points:
- Minimum safety distances between playground equipment and the boundaries of the playground itself.
- Revision of playground equipment, mainly due to installation and/or usage problems. The focus of this review is to prevent injuries caused by chipped wood, sharp points, corners or edges that may develop as a result of wear and tear; the possible entrapment of the head, body, feet or fingers, which may cause strangulation, breakages, etc., as well as the stability of the playground equipment and its foundations, which in many cases cannot be seen due to the type of impact attenuating surfacing used in the playground, such as synthetic surfaces like wet pour surfacing.
On the other hand, the design of the actual playground equipment is also checked, in order to verify that it has been installed in line with the manufacturer’s instructions and to ensure that access to the playground equipment has not been modified due to an incorrect installation.
- Determination of the level of cushioning of shock-absorbing surfaces, such as sand, gravel, grass, synthetic material, etc.; in order to verify that the level of cushioning provided is adequate for the free fall height of the play equipment itself, within its entire impact area.
- A review is made of the state of maintenance of the playground and its management, in those areas that are not newly built. For this, our inspectors ask the company or administration that is responsible for the playground to provide them with the data collection and/or management system they use to carry out routine visual and operational inspections and routine and corrective maintenance.
Our experience in the inspection and certification of playgrounds
- Our inspection and certification tasks are carried out by qualified inspectors and supervised by the technician in charge of Playgrounds and recreational areas, under a work system accredited by ENAC, for playgrounds, according to the reference standard -EN ISO/IEC 17020 “Evaluation of Conformity: Requirements for the operation of different types of inspection bodies”.
- On the other hand, we have several sets of measuring equipment, such as head, chest, finger and profile probes, a calibration ring, callipers, etc., and four units that measure critical fall height according to EN 1177. Determination of critical fall height”, all with a triaxial accelerometer.