Fall Zone Requirements for Playgrounds Defined

The playground is the heart of any school, day-care facility or community centre. Such playgrounds must be easily accessible and perfectly safe. When it comes to understanding and implementing Australian safety standards for playgrounds, it’s important to contact a professional for expert advice on important aspects such as fall zone requirements for playgrounds.

A fall zone refers to the space around and under playground equipment where children might be prone to falling. These areas are protected by a surface material and must be free of obstacles or other equipment. When it comes to Australian standards for playground soft fall preventative measures, the prevailing standard is AS 4685:2021. It was promulgated in 2004 and updated in 2021 to align with the European standard and worldwide trends for child safety in playgrounds. The standard defines various important concepts:

  • Minimum space: The area needed to use the equipment safely. It consists of the space the equipment occupies, the free space and the fall zone. The minimum space impacts the equipment chosen for a playground, as it determines the quantity and height.
  • Free height of fall: According to the standard, the free height of fall cannot exceed 3 m. Free height of fall affects the fall zone and how thick the surface must be to absorb any impact. It differs for each piece of playground equipment.
  • Fall zone: When a user falls from a piece of equipment, this is the surrounding space they pass through. It is calculated by considering the free height of fall.
  • Free space: Playground equipment requires a minimum amount of space to be operated effectively.
  • Impact area: When a user falls through the fall zone and hits the surface, it is referred to as the impact area.

On-site Service

To fully comprehend AS 4685:2021 and its implications, it is best to seek out the assistance of a professional soft fall testing service provider. We can determine on-site if the fall zone of your playground complies with the necessary Australian standards.