Safety of playgrounds and playgrounds equipment
Playgrounds are an important place for children’s recreation.
A playground is any plot of land or playing area where there is at least one item of playground equipment that can be used collectively by children and young people for play purposes.
A few examples:
- a school playground;
- an outdoor play area;
- a day nursery;
- indoor private and public playgrounds;
- adventure playgrounds;
- skateboard parks etc.
The playground operator is responsible for the security and maintenance of the facilities and the grounds. The parents or accompanying adult are of course responsible for the behaviour of their child/children.
Cooperation between users, the playground industry and the public authorities ensures that playgrounds in Belgium are safe, without losing sight of the enjoyment experienced by children when playing. Modern materials and well-designed playground equipment make it possible to create attractive play environments.
It is not always possible to prevent a single accident from re-occurring at our playgrounds. This would prevent children from truly enjoying their play at playgrounds. Play is a learning process with ups and downs.
The general provisions and safety requirements for playgrounds are described in the law of 9 February 1994, on the safety of products and services.
The specific requirements for playground equipment and for the operation of playgrounds have been developed in the following Royal Decrees:
- Royal Decree of 28 March 2001 on the safety of playground equipment ;
- Royal Decree of 28 March 2001 on the operation of playgrounds .
Products and installations which are not considered playground equipment by these regulations are:
- products that weigh less than 3 kg;
- temporary equipment made by children themselves as part of their play (under supervision);
- children’s bicycles, bicycles without pedals and baby walkers.
A playground can only be placed on the market if the general safety requirements and general safety principles of design and manufacture are met.
Each item of playground equipment is required by EU law to bear the following indelible and non-detachable inscriptions and information on or in the equipment:
- the name (ID) of the playground equipment;
- the brand, name and contact details of the producer;
- the year of production and, if applicable, the type number.
Par ailleurs, le producteur doit fournir les prescriptions de montage et d’installation et d’autres informations pertinentes sous forme de document accompagnant l’équipement. Ce document doit au moins être rédigé dans la ou les langue(s) de la région linguistique où l’équipement d’aires de jeux est mis sur le marché.
Furthermore, the producer must provide instructions for fitting and installation and other relevant information as a document accompanying the equipment. This document must be written in at least the language(s) of the linguistic region where the playground equipment is sold.
Some important aspects regarding the safety of playground equipment can be found in the booklet ‘Jouez la sécurité’.
The operator is responsible for the safety of playgrounds and playground equipment.
A playground can only be operated if it meets general safety requirements. To this end, the following steps must be carried out:
- conducting a risk analysis;
- drafting preventive measures;
- application of the preventive measures by the operator during the establishment and operation of the playground;
- establishing an inspection and maintenance programme:
- regular checks (daily or weekly);
- maintenance (monthly or bimonthly);
- periodic inspection (annually).
The operator must state the following inscriptions clearly and legibly:
- the name and contact details of the operator;
- a unique alphanumeric ID for each item of equipment (per playground);
- general regulations and possibly warnings in the language(s) of the linguistic region or by using clear and explicit icons.
It is forbidden to display the disclaimer ‘Use at your own risk’ or any other similar disclaimer.
The operator must ensure that they can effectively demonstrate that they comply with regulatory obligations, possibly through an up to date register.
A manual on playground safety has been developed as a tool for playground operators.
All serious incidents and accidents must be reported immediately to the central service.
A serious accident is a fatality or an accident that causes or could cause permanent injury.
A serious incident is an incident that results or could result in a serious accident.
- Questions et réponses sur l’interprétation de la loi du 9 février 1994
- Sécurité des aires de jeux : FAQ
- Manuel Sécurité des aires de jeux
- Misez ... Sécurité
- Guide de sécurité : Buts de football mobiles
- Sécurité des produits et des services, loi 09-02-1994
- Critères de fonctionnement et modalités de contrôle du fonctionnement des organismes intervenants, AR 27-04-2007
- Réglementation relative aux équipements de protection individuelle, AR 31-12-1992
- Equipements d'aires de jeux, AR 28-03-2001
- Réglementation relative à l’exploitation des aires de jeux, AR 28-03-2001
- Guide de sécurité : Skating (patins en ligne)
- Avis : gazon comme base des aires de jeux
- Arrêté royal du 28 mars 2001 relatif à l’exploitation des aires de jeux
- Arrêté royal du 27 avril 2007 déterminant les critères de fonctionnement et les modalités de contrôle du fonctionnement des organismes intervenants
- Arrêté royal du 31 décembre 1992 relatif à la mise sur le marché d’équipements de protection individuelle
- Loi du 9 février 1994 relative à la sécurité des produits et des services
- Arrêté royal du 28 mars 2001 relatif à la sécurité des équipements d’aires de jeux