Playground Safety Institute

                                                      Because it matters
    Safety and Risk
Management Services

Welcome to the home page of the Playground Safety Institute

Operating Statement

The Playground Safety Institute is the leading authority in South Africa on playground and playground equipment risk and safety management. This includes risk and safety management on inflatable amusements rides or devices such as giant slides, gladiator courses. jumping castles, climbing walls and mechanical bull rides and trampolines etc.

Playground safety standards for playgrounds and playground equipment safety are  being implemented on a international scale making play safe  for  developing children.  Play is the most important  aspect  of  developing children, it helps with cognitive, communication, hand eye coordination including fine and gross motor skills.

The Playground safety institute was established in South Africa in 2008 by the founding member (Myles Wittstock) to promote and monitor the implementation and compliance with playground safety standards developed and published by the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS).

The Playground Safety Institute also provides for monitoring, evaluation and certification of Playground Safety Inspectors/auditors in South Africa in order to ensure and maintain a high level of skill competence and knowledge of playground safety inspectors/auditors.

All playground safety inspections are only conducted with a request and appointment from interested stakeholders. No random inspections are conducted by any playground safety inspector/auditor or enforced on any organization, company, school, restaurant or any child care facility in South Africa.

The Playground Safety Institute does not affiliate itself with any playground equipment manufacturer, installer or supplier including playground safety surfacing manufacturers or installation service providers. No products or services are endorsed or promoted by the Playground Safety Institute.

Causes of Playground Injuries

Every year thousands of children visit emergency rooms, hospitals and doctors consultation rooms throughout South as a result of injuries from playgrounds and playground equipment including inflatable amusement rides and devices. Some children have been severely disfigured or disabled and some fatalities have occurred from playground equipment and inflatable amusements rides.

The causes of these fatalities and injuries are numerous but most of the time are a result of one or more of the following factors:

  • inadequate or no supervision of children
  • no soft fall, impact or safety surface being provided or installed around the equipment
  • inadequate maintenance of equipment or lack thereof
  • protrusions from bolts, nails, screws and wood splinters
  • crush and pinch zones on play equipment provided for children
  • strangulation from head, neck, body and limb entrapment areas on equipment, especially cargo nets or climbing nets
  • incorrectly installed equipment
  • playground equipment and inflatable amusement devices or rides not being age appropriate
  • overcrowding on playground equipment and inflatables
  • non-complaint manufactured playground equipment and inflatables
  • incorrect materials used in the construction or manufacture of the playground equipment or inflatables
  • rough play and over confidence on playground equipment and inflatables
  • broken equipment
  • loose ropes and cables on playground equipment and inflatables
  • inflatable amusement rides and devices not being staked or pegged properly
  • incorrect strength of tethers, tie downs or guide ropes used on inflatables
  • insufficient development of gross and fine motors skills, balance and visual depth perception
  • exhaustion, fatigue and loss of concentration
  • protrusions present on playground equipment which can snag clothing or scarfs causing strangulation
  • environmental exposure hazards on playground equipment such wet playground equipment (rain/dew), very hot equipment from direct sunlight
  • vandalism 

South African National Safety Standards

The Playground Safety Institute together with the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) have published playground and playground equipment safety Standards. The safety standards provide technical specifications and requirements for the manufacture, installation, operation, maintenance and inspections of playgrounds and playground equipment. The standards also apply to the manufacturers, operation and inspection of inflatable amusement rides and devices.

The SANS standards are as follows:

1.     South African National Standard - SANS 51176 - parts 1 to 7 and 10 to 11.
2.     South African National Standard - SANS 51177 - provision of impact or safety surfacing for
        Playgrounds and playground equipment
3.     South African National Standard - SANS 54960 - manufacture, operation and maintenance of

        inflatables amusement devices.
4.     South African National Satndard - SANS (draft) - trampoline safety requirements and test
        methods for gymnastics and trampoline parks or venues         

The following stakeholders have a legal obligation or "Duty of Care" to ensure the safety of children through compliance with the playground equipment safety standards and inflatable amusement device safety standards.

  • early childhood development centers - owners, management and staff
  • pre-primary schools - owners, management and staff
  • primary schools
  • creches and day care centers - owners, management and staff
  • aftercare facilities
  • guest houses and hotels
  • playground equipment manufacturers
  • playground equipment installers and suppliers
  • playground equipment maintenance contractors
  • manufacturers of inflatable amusement devices
  • hirers of inflatable amusement devices
  • suppliers and distributors of inflatable amusement devices
  • event organisors and safety coordinators
  • playgroups and child care facilities
  • local government or council public parks
  • youth camp - owners, management and staff
  • liability insurers
  • loss adjusters
Home | Hazards | Courses | Inspections | Services | News | About | Contact | Testing | Trampolines