Playground Safety Regulations

Ensuring Playground Safety is the responsibility of everyone

Ensuring playground safety is essential, not only for the protection of the children using the equipment but to also mitigate risk for the early learning centres, schools, councils and other organisations in charge of these play areas.

All playgrounds which feature playground equipment, such as in schools, council parks and early childhood centres, must comply with the NZ Standard for Playground Equipment and Surfacing NZS 5828:2018 As a legal requirement, it is the responsibility of providers to demonstrate that the playground structures, equipment and surfacing are safe and meet the relevant criteria.

The standards are quite specific and include (but not limited too) such things as:

  • Equipment over 500 mm needs to be on loose fill or synthetic safety surface
  • Equipment over 500 mm needs a clearance of 1.9 metres fall space around the equipment.
  • No climbing equipment of any height should be situated on concrete
  • Gaps between fence palings should be 100 mm or less.
  • Barriers on platforms should be 1 metre
  • Any moveable platform must have barriers if it is over 1.2 metres.

Understanding these requirements, and the fall height specifications of the surfaces underneath the play equipment, whether it be synthetic turf, bark, rubber matting or poured rubber surfaces, is important to ensure they comply with these rigorous standards.

Best Practice

As a synthetic turf supplier to schools, councils and early childhood centres, understanding the requirements to meet health and safety regulations, and knowing what to look for, is essential.  It is also best practice for early childhood centres to ensure its suppliers have this knowledge.  The consequences of not doing so can be serious.

By using accredited playground inspectors, facility owners and managers can be sure that their organisation’s playgrounds and equipment meet the strict criteria set and that they are getting expert advice and recommendations.

TigerTurf Business Development Manager for Early Childhood Centres, Mel Cowie, is certified by The Register of Play Inspectors International (RPII) to review the safety of a playground.  This training includes assessing and providing solutions for the following:

  • fall zones where there will be height restrictions and what areas are affected
  • heights of playground equipment and what shock pads are required to meet standards
  • understanding the hazards around equipment free space (i.e. the swing arc, slide chute or fireman’s pole)
  • identifying entrapments and non-complying areas

By having this training, Mel can provide more than just a soft fall surface; she can provide advice and recommendations on fall heights and shock pad requirements, identify different playground hazards with surfaces and equipment and help ensure your playground is safe, fun and legal.

Who is the RPII

The Register of Play Inspectors International (RPII) is the main accrediting body for examining, accrediting and certifying inflatable, indoor and outdoor play inspectors. The RPII also accredits courses for the training of inspectors to ensure that playground safety standards are met and adhered to.

RPII playground safety and equipment inspections include:

  • Annual Safety Inspection and Reports,
  • Post-Installation Safety Inspection,
  • Operational and Routine Inspections

Registered inspectors are trained to assessing children’s play areas and equipment, covering 3 specific areas:

  • Indoor – RPII Inspectors for Indoor Play and FEC Centres
  • Inflatable – RPII Inspectors for Inflatable Play Equipment
  • Outdoor – RPII Inspectors for Outdoor Play Areas


Call TigerTurf for your next playground assessment

By using accredited playground inspectors, you can be sure that they meet the strict criteria set by the RPII and that they’ve been fully trained to conduct inspections to the required levels of competence.

For a complete and accurate assessment of your playground requirements call TigerTurf.

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