Playground Safety Standards

Kids love to climb higher and go faster. Yes, we must always encourage them to do so. But we must also be ready for when they fall.

We have produced fall zone safety surfacing for more than 15 years. In this time our systems have consistently delivered for community, school and pre-school playgrounds.

These systems have fully certified Critical Fall Height (CFH) factors of up to three metres. The CFH of our safety surfacing is increased by the installation of additional shockpads under the top layer of matting. You can feel the difference these soft, shock-absorbent rubber surfaces provide.

Rigorous testing 

Numat is tested and certified in accordance with NZS5828:2004 Playground Equipment and Surfacing Standards in New Zealand. Our shock absorption performance is evaluated by the HIC (Head Injury Criterion) test, a careful analysis that measures fall impact through multi-axial deceleration. A second test measures kinetic energy at impact, in which a standardised head, equipped with highly sensitive acceleration sensors, undergoes free fall.

Safety by the numbers

These tests are comprehensive and exacting – and with good reason. Each year in New Zealand approximately 7400 children aged 15 years and under are treated at emergency departments for injuries sustained while using playground equipment, More than 1100 are subsequently hospitalised. Many of the injuries are a result from falls.

When fall heights exceeded 2.5 metres 55% of equipment did not have impact absorbing surfaces below it. Of those that did, only 4% complied with the safe fall requirement.

Keeping up with compliance

What you need to know about NZS5828 Playground Equipment and Surfacing Standard.

NZS 5828:2004 was the previous standard that covered playground equipment and surfacing. That document aimed at ensuring playgrounds were well designed, well constructed, innovative and challenging. The standard was, for the most part, a complete adoption of the European Standard EN1176:1998, with an additional five appendices specific to New Zealand.

In 2017 the previous standard was replaced by the current standard, NZS 5828:2015. The update brought the New Zealand standard into line with the most recent European Standard, EN1176:2008. The new standard features four appendices specific to New Zealand.

The new standard aims to tidy up sections of the old that were unclear, and includes the addition of more detailed diagrams. It also includes specific reference to spatial nets and enclosed indoor play.

Need to make sense of the new playground standards?

Numat’s team is up to date with the latest in compliance and building code requirements. We’re happy to fill you in so you can be sure you’ll have all the information you need before, during, and after. Get in touch with Numat today for any queries you may have.