Playground Fencing Regulations

The importance of playgrounds shouldn’t be underestimated. They are key places where children develop physically, emotionally and psychologically; spaces where they can learn social skills and express their creativity – all through play. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child is a complete statement of children’s rights and recognises that children have a right ‘to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities’.

 

Playgrounds are therefore invaluable areas that require careful planning and design so that children can be safe to play and develop. However, much greater effort is required from local authorities, designers and specifiers to reduce the estimated 40,000 annual injuries to children in playgrounds. In particular, fencing and gates simply need to be installed to meet the required standards.

 

Meeting the standard for playgrounds

In a study of playgrounds in and around Kent, we found that few of the fencing or gates installed would comply with BS EN 1176 - the British and European Standard for playground equipment and surfacing. Nor would they pass an independent inspection by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA).

 

BS EN 1176 is published in seven parts, but here are the key considerations relating to fencing and gates:

 

Fencing

A minimum fence height of 1.0m

Raking panels for sloping sites to maintain fence height

Strong fixings to proprietary caps and edgings

Safe design to eliminate the risk of child entrapment within the fence

Capping to any sharp or protruding fixings

Durable materials to resist any anticipated vandalism and likely usage

Durable coatings and treatments

Timber should not be prone to splintering

Use of best quality that can be afforded to minimise the necessity for frequent repairs and maintenance

Gates

A minimum of 1m open width

Should not open directly onto a hazard such as an open road

Must allow passage of wheelchairs and pushchairs

Be outwards-opening except if they would cause a hazard to others

A different colour to the fencing to make their location easily identifiable

A self-closing mechanism is strongly recommended to maintain the gate in the closed position

It should not close quicker than 5 seconds for safety

Maintenance gates should be wide enough to allow for machinery and kept locked when not in use

 

The BS EN 1176 standard is not a legal requirement in the UK but Local Authorities who can demonstrate their legal duty of care through compliance would find themselves better placed in the unfortunate event of an accident claim.

 

Key legislation and liability

It’s important to know about the legal aspects of safety on children’s play areas. There are three key pieces of legislation:

 

Health and Safety at Work (1974)

This is the major legislation covering playgrounds. There is a duty under Sections 3 and 4 to ensure the health and safety of users, so far as is reasonably practicable. The Health and Safety Executive looks for a system-led approach to safety and for playgrounds to meet relevant standards.

 

Occupiers Liability Act (1957, revised 1984)

This Act requires that people can expect to be reasonably safe when using playgrounds; furthermore, greater care is required when children are concerned. There is a limited duty of care to trespassers.

  

Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (1999)

This requires a risk assessment of facilities, a safety policy for meeting the risks, and appropriate training.

 

Related products

Jacksons Security has a range of products relating to this article, all complete with our 25 year service life guarantee. If you cannot find the item you are looking for, please do not hesitate to call our friendly sales team.

Want to find out more?

Make an enquiry

Enquire Now
View our specification help

Specify Us

Specify Us

Related Content

Education Case Studies

Related Case Studies

We have completed over 5000 Education projects in the last 10 years, providing solutions for refurbished and new build primary and secondary schools, including fencing, access control, sports enclosures and acoustic barriers. Discover more through our portfolio of Education case studies.

Education Blogs

Related Content

We have an extensive library of Education blogs covering a wide selection of topics, whether you need a helpful guide for choosing the right fencing and gates, advice on how to create secure outdoor storage areas, or an understanding of the different risks involved in playground fencing.

Contact Us

Need Help?

From design and manufacturing to supply and installation, we can help you with your project. If you'd like to discuss anything in this article or need information or guidance, please feel free to contact us at any stage to discuss your requirements.

Top