Table of Contents
Playgrounds are an important place for children to relax and have fun.
A playground refers to any play area or play zone where there is at least one piece of playground equipment that can be used collectively by children or youngsters under the age of 18.
- school playground;
- public, private and indoor playgrounds;
- recreation areas and parks;
- skate parks; …
The playground owner/operator is responsible for the safety and maintenance of the facilities and premises. Of course, parents or supervisors remain responsible for their children's behaviour.
The users, playground sector and government each have a role to play in the safety of Belgian playgrounds, without losing sight of children's enjoyment. Modern materials and a well thought-out layout of playground equipment make for safe yet attractive play areas.
Of course, it is impossible to guarantee that no accident will ever happen again on our playgrounds. No accident would mean no children here to play. After all, playing is a learning process with ups and downs.
The general safety regulations for playgrounds and playground equipment are set out in the Code of Economic Law on the safety of products and services.
The specific requirements for playground equipment and to run a playground have been laid down in the following Royal Decrees:
- the Royal Decree of 28 March 2001 on the safety of playground equipment; and
- the Royal Decree of 28 March 2001 on the running of playgrounds
Products and facilities that are not considered as playground equipment under these regulations are:
- products that weigh less than 3 kilograms;
- temporary equipment created by children themselves as part of their play (under supervision);
- children's bicycles, balance bicycles and baby walkers.
Requirements for playground equipment manufacturers
Playground equipment may only be placed on the market if the general safety requirements and general safety principles for design and manufacture are met.
Each piece of playground equipment must bear the following indelible and non-removable inscriptions or indication on the inside or the outside:
- the name (identification) of the playground equipment;
- the brand, name and contact details of the manufacturer;
- the year of fabrication, and, if applicable, the type number.
Furthermore, the manufacturer must provide a document containing assembly and installation instructions along with the playground equipment as well as any other relevant information. This document must be written in the relevant languages of the regional markets in which the playground equipment is introduced.
Requirements for playground owners/operators
Owners/operators are responsible for the safety of the playground equipment and area.
A playground may only be opened when the general safety regulations are met. This means running through the following steps:
- conducting a risk analysis;
- drafting preventive measures;
- applying these preventive measures when setting up and operating the playground;
- setting an inspection and maintenance schedule:
- regular inspections: daily or weekly;
- maintenance: monthly or every two months;
- periodic inspections: annually.
The FPS Economy has created a useful tool for this purpose. This tool allows you to create a playground risk analysis, and inspection and maintenance schedule. The use of this tool is not mandatory.
The following information must be provided clearly and legibly by the owner/operator:
- the name/company name and address of the owner/operator;
- a unique alphanumeric identification of each piece of playground equipment (for each playground);
- general regulations and possibly warnings in the languages applying to the particular location of the playground, or in the form of clear and unambiguous symbols.
Remember that signs with warnings such as “use at your own risk” (or any other similar) are not allowed.
By keeping a logbook, owners/operators can efficiently demonstrate they are complying with legal obligations.
A playground has been developed as a tool for playground equipment manufacturers and owners/operators.
The aim of a risk analysis is to be able to demonstrate that all hazards have been identified, that the related risks have been assessed and that any unacceptable risks have been made acceptable with the use of preventive measures.
On the web page “Service risk analysis: what should be included?” the FPS Economy clarifies what the risk analysis should look like, along with its content and what it should include.
Obligation to report
Serious incidents and accidents must be reported immediately to the Central Help Desk.
Use the accident or serious incident notification form (DOCX, 44.98 KB) (in French).
A serious accident is a fatal accident or an accident that causes or could cause permanent injuries.
A serious incident is an incident that leads or could lead to a serious accident.