Safety is paramount at a playground. Both children and adults should feel that the playground is a safe place to be. They must be able to focus on having fun and enjoying being there together. High safety requirements therefore ensure that playgrounds are always safe.

When establishing a playground, you must ensure that the playground and all the equipment comply with all applicable safety requirements in your country. In Europe, all countries follow the same rules and standards for public playgrounds – the European safety standards EN 1176 and EN 1177. If you are located outside Europe, you must be aware of which rules apply in your country.

EN 1176 and EN 1177 are your guarantee of safe play equipment

The European safety standard comprises a number of rules and requirements that must be met by manufacturers of play equipment and safety surfaces. If the play equipment or safety surfaces do not comply with these rules, they are not approved as being safe. The standard is therefore your guarantee that the play equipment installed in your playground is safe.

EN 1176 covers the requirements for play equipment, while EN 1177 covers the rules for safety surfaces. Both are equally important to preventing injuries and dangerous situations.

The approval of play equipment and safety surfaces is performed by experts. Manufacturers can choose to act as experts themselves, or have the process carried out by a third party. For example, all our equipment is certified by TÜV, which specialises in testing and inspecting equipment for playgrounds.

Read more about how we work with playground safety here: Safety and certification.

FAQs about safety

How much safety surface does play equipment need?

A safety surface is a shock-absorbing surface which helps to minimise injury in the event of falls etc. In all countries that follow the European standard, safety surfaces must comply with the EN 1177 standard.

The size of the safety surface depends on the fall height and the type of play equipment. The higher the play equipment, the larger a safety surface is required as the risk of injury is greater. The same applies to play equipment involving motion, such as swings or slides. As they also entail a higher risk of accidents, a safety surface is vital to preventing injury.

What is a safety area? And what are the requirements?

A safety area is an area around a piece of play equipment which is kept completely clear. No other elements are permitted in the safety area, not even a waste bin, a shrub or another piece of play equipment. The clear area helps to prevent injury. If a child happens to fall off the play equipment, there is nothing for them to collide with.

According to the European safety standard, there has to be a safety area around each piece of play equipment. Even play equipment which is less than 60 cm high and which does not require a safety surface has to have a safety area. For more information on the required safety areas for our products, see ‘Specifications’ on the individual product page.

When can play equipment be installed on grass?

Play equipment can be installed on grass if its fall height is less than 1 metre. If the fall height is more than 1 metre, an extra shock-absorbing surface is needed. If the safety surface is grass, an annual drop test must be conducted to ensure that the grass is neither too hard nor too worn. The grass must be shock-absorbing to a certain extent, otherwise it does not provide enough safety.

Note that if the fall height is less than 60 cm, no safety surface of any kind is required, which obviates the need for any drop test.

How are safety surfaces tested?

Safety surfaces must be tested at regular intervals. The shock absorbance of the surface must meet certain requirements – even after many years of use.

For most safety surfaces, a drop test is performed, which shows the hardness of the surface. If the measurements do not comply with the safety standard, the safety surface must either be replaced or modified. In some cases, where sand and gravel are used for example, it is possible to dig down to ensure that the layer meets the specified depth requirements. Sand and gravel can easily shift, and therefore refilling might well be necessary as time passes.

Does play equipment have to be labelled?

All play equipment at public playgrounds must carry a label with certain information. The information includes the name of the manufacturer, the year of manufacture and the relevant certification. The label guarantees that everyone can see where the equipment comes from and that it meets strict safety requirements.

Questions for playground safety?

Contact your nearest dealer today if you have any questions or need inspiration for choosing your new playground.