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Surface Impact Testing


Playground surface impact testing checks to see whether the playground surface is safe for children to play on.
  • Dangers of Hard Play Surfaces
Many fatalities on playgrounds are as a result of children falling from playground equipment and colliding with a hard surface below and around the playground equipment such as grass, concrete, asphalt (tar), paved bricks,  hard or impacted sand etc. These hard and dangerous surfaces are not acceptable underneath and around playground equipment and can cause severe head injury or death if a child's head collides with the hard surface.
  • Safety Surfaces
One of the most important safety features on any playground is the impact surfacing or safety surfacing around and underneath playground equipment. The impact surface or safety surface absorbs the impact of a child's body or head when falling from playground equipment. The impact or safety surface will not totally eliminate or prevent injuries or fractures but reduces the severity of the injury.

The difference safety surfacing can make is between sustaining severe brain injury with no safety surfacing provided to slight concussion with safety surfacing being provided.

  • SANS 51177
Any playground equipment structure higher than 600mm from ground surface requires impact or safety surfacing. All impact safety surfacing underneath and around playground equipment must comply with the South African National standard SANS 51177 - Impact attenuation of playground surfacing - Determination of critical fall height.
  • Requirements for Playground Safety Surface Installers, Manufacturers and Suppliers
All playground safety surfacing installed by service providers must provide a certificate of compliance with the SANS 51177.
  • Surface Impact Testing
Impact testing of safety surfaces or impact surfaces must be provided by an approved testing laboratory or on sight by a playground safety professionals with surface testing equipment approved and calibrated by an approved testing laboratory.

  • Purchasing of Surface Impact Testers
Triaxial surface impact testers can be purchased from the Playground Safety Institute for Playground Safety Professionals. The surface impact testers are available for national and international distribution. Please contact the Playground Safety Institute for more information.
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