Playground Safety Institute


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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 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

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 equipment
  • 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 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

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.

South African National Safety Standards

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.

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
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