Playground Safety Institute was established in 2008 to address the serious
injuries and death of children on playgrounds and Playground Equipment in South Africa.
South African Bureau of Standards formed a technical committee TC 1090 to
develop playground safety standards for South Africa. Myles Wittstock from the
Playground Safety Institute was elected as the chairperson for the TC 1090. The
playground safety standards were published in 2011.
and playground equipment safety standards have been developed on an
international scale as a result of concerned parents and child care providers
as early as 1974 and in some countries even earlier. South Africa must align
itself with the rest of the International community in order to commit to
providing a safer environment for children.
playground and playground equipment are the most high risk areas in a
child care facility for injury and death. Special attention and
implementation of safety standards to these areas will reduce the risks
of serious injury and death.
All child care providers have a legal "duty of care" to ensure
the safety of children in their care. Failure to fulfill this "duty of
care" can result in fines, loss of care facility license and
imprisonment for the owner and staff of the facility. The safety
standards are considered as a "minimum standard of care" in a court of law.
are many government and local government laws/bylaws,acts and
regulations for the safety of children in their environment. Most of
them cover the following:
- Child to staff ratios
- Staff training in Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation and First Aid
- Staff Training in Fire Fighting or Extinguisher Handling
- Appointment of safety representatives, safety meetings
to address - emergencies, Illness, child behaviour, playground
supervision, playground equipment maintenance, safety audits,handling
of incidence of bleeding.
- Medication administration
- Indoor and outdoor space requirements, water hazards, locks, fire extinguishers, first aid equipment requirements, fire exits.
- Dangerous structures
- Transport issues - child restraints, parent permission etc.
- Sanitation and health standards - pest control, hand washing, diapers,waste removal etc
The following are the aims of the Playground Safety Institute:
Implementation of Safety Standards
- Promote awareness of the South African National Standard for playground and playground equipment safety
all stakeholders in implementation of the playground safety standards
SANS 51177 and SANS 51176 including the safety standards for inflatable
amusement rides and devices SANS 54960.
- Provide training for the playground safety standards and inflatable amusement rides or devices standards.
- Provide training and registration of all playground safety inspectors in South Africa
- Provide training for inflatable operators and manufacturers of inflatable amusement rides in South Africa.
- Monitor the effectiveness of the safety standards through data gathering.
current national and international trends and industry standards in
playground equipment design and manufacture and to provide feedback to
The implementation of the standards can be done in two phases.
Phase One - Immediate
South African National Standard SANS 51176 - part 1 and part 7 are to
be implemented as from immediate effect. Part 1 of the standard
is for the general safety requirements and test methods of playgrounds and playground equipment. Part 7 is for
the guidance, installation, inspection, maintenance and operation of
South African National Standard SANS 51177 - Impact attenuating
playground surfacing - Determination of critical fall height must also
be implemented as from immediate effect. Safety surfacing or impact
surface must be installed round all playground equipment according to
the Safety Standard SANS 51177. This is the most important safety feature
for playgrounds as impact surfacing absorbs the impact a a child
falling from playground equipment preventing serious head injury and
Phase Two - Expected Period 2 Years
non complaint playground and playground equipment must be upgraded or
modified immediately to comply with the playground safety standard SANS
51176 and SANS 51177. Playground equipment which does not comply with
the Safety Standard and has no means of been modified or upgraded must
be phased out over the next 2 years. Owners of playground equipment
take full responsibility and accountability for any injuries and deaths
which occur on non-complaint equipment or equipment which cannot be
upgraded or modified. There is a high risk of litigation if children
are allowed to play on playground equipment which is not complaint with
the SANS 51176 and SANS 51177 safety standards.
The Playground Safety Institute can assist to achieve compliance with the safety standards.
Please ensure that your playground safety inspector is registered and certified through the Playground Safety Institute.
Police clearance is required to be able to work in the environment of children. All the inspectors registered with the Playground Safety Institute have been screened and cleared.