Playground Equipment and Surfacing Standards

What are Playground Equipment and Surfacing Standards?

The Australian Standards for Playground Equipment and Surfacing are an advisory set of guidelines that are not regulatory on their own, standards are voluntary;

  • Are a national recommendation on minimum requirements for best practice
  • Are not mandatory for public and private play areas
  • Playgrounds provided by schools and childcare centers usually have to comply with policies under the State or Territory relevant Department of education or equivalent
  • Although not mandatory, may (highly likely) be referred to in court action against providers of play equipment
  • Cover specific guidelines on design, installation, inspection, and maintenance
  • A playground owner has a duty of care to all users and visitors and a reasonable standard of care should be applied to the playground to prevent injury or loss.

There is no requirement for the public to comply with the Standards. However, State and Commonwealth Governments often refer to Australian Standards (AS) or joint Australian/New Zealand Standards (AS/NZ) in their legislation.

When this happens, these standards can become mandatory. In addition, Australian Standards are sometimes incorporated into legal documents, and considered as a ‘benchmark of acceptability’.

PSIA conducts its operations in accordance with the Australian Standard, “Best Practice” and Occupational Health & Safety Act.

What are the Current Australian Standards for Playground Equipment and Surfacing

  • AS 16630:2021 Permanently installed outdoor fitness equipment – Safety requirements and test methods (EN 16630:2015, MOD)
  • AS 4422:2016 Playground Surfacing – Specifications, requirements and test method (Revision of AS/NZS4422:1996)
  • AS 4685.0:2017 Playground equipment and surfacing. Part 0: Development, installation, inspection, maintenance and operation (Revision of AS/NZS4486.1:1997)
  • AS 4685.1:2021 Playground equipment and surfacing. Part 1: General safety requirements and test methods (EN 1176-1:2017 MOD) (Revision of AS 4685.1:2014)
  • AS 4685.2:2021 Playground equipment and surfacing. Part 2: Additional specific safety requirements and test methods for swings (EN 1176-2:2017 MOD) (Revision of AS 4685.2:2014)
  • AS 4685.3:2021 Playground equipment and surfacing. Part 3: Additional specific safety requirements and test methods for slides (EN 1176-3:2017 MOD) (Revision of AS 4685.3:2014)
  • AS 4685.4:2021 Playground equipment and surfacing. Part 4: Additional specific safety requirements and test methods for cableways (EN 1176-4:2017 MOD)(Revision of AS 4685.4:2014)
  • AS 4685.5:2021 Playground equipment and surfacing. Part 5: Additional specific safety requirements and test methods for carousels (EN 1176-1:2017 MOD) (Revision of AS 4685.5:2014)
  • AS 4685.6:2021 Playground equipment and surfacing. Part 6: Additional specific safety requirements and test methods for rocking equipment (EN 1176-6:2017 MOD) (Revision of AS 4685.6:2014)
  • AS 4685.11:2014 Playground equipment. Part 11: Additional specific safety requirements and test methods for spatial network (EN 1176-11:2008, MOD) (Revision of AS 4685.11:2012)

The above are all available for purchase directly from Standards Australia 

Purchase Playground Safety Inspectors Australia Guide to Standards

Included resource in our CPSIA Level 1-2 Operational and CPSIA Level 1-3 Comprehensive training package, ~300 pg. two-sided and fully coloured manual developed by our trainer with continuous review since 2000. This resource covers all lecture content presented by the trainer and topics such as (but not limited to) playground history and introduction, injury and statistics, surfacing, guide to Standards, risk management, manufacturer instructions, operator instructions, playground safety audit, signage, shade/sun protection, outdoor fitness/gym/exercise equipment, hazard identification, and information required to complete your assessments and future playground operations. Learn more about this resource or purchase additional copies below.

Keeping Standards Up-To-Date

To maintain their currency, Standards are periodically reviewed and new editions are published. Between editions, amendments may be issued. Standards may also be withdrawn. It is important you ensure you are referring to the current Standards, which should include any amendments which may have been published since the Standard was purchased.

Subscribe to our newsletter below to keep up to date on any new or superceded Australian Standards for Playground Equipment and Surfacing.

StandardsWatch is another easy way to keep Standards up-to-date, a subscription offered by Sai Global.

Standards Update 2021

Changes have been made to the Playground Safety Standards in Australia. Those involved in the design, development, ownership, and operation of playgrounds in Australia should be aware of these changes.  Please be aware of the following changes: Release of the new standard AS 16630:2021 for permanently installed outdoor fitness equipment AS 4685.1:2014 for playground equipment and …

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New Standard AS 1428.1:2021 Design for Access and Mobility

AS 1428.1:2021- Design for Access and Mobility August 2021 “Are you starting work on a new building? Have you thought about the access and mobility requirements for people with a disability? AS 1428.1:2021 sets out minimum design requirements for new building work, as required by the Building Code of Australia (BCA), to enable access for …

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