From the Old AS4685:2014 to AS4685:2021: A Simple Guide to the Latest Standards for Playground Equipment
The 'Playground Standard', or AS 4685, serves as a guideline for designers and inspectors on what constitutes an adequately safe playground. It outlines the fundamental safety requirements for playground equipment, but it's not designed to eliminate every chance of minor injury.
It posits that: "risk-taking is a crucial aspect of play provision and a characteristic of all environments where children engage in legitimate play activities." Thus, its primary purpose is to safeguard children from hazards they may not expect, while still allowing designers the latitude to incorporate exciting and challenging play elements.
Changes to AS4685: The Basics
There are recent changes to this standard. Here’s a few things you should know:
1. Accessible Equipment
The rules about what makes playground equipment "easily accessible" are now clearer. The new guidelines encourage designs that slow down access to high or more advanced areas. This gives adults more time to react and safeguard younger children.
2. Upper Body Equipment
The allowed fall height for fixed Upper Body Equipment, like monkey bars, has been increased from 2.2m to 3m.
3. Finger Entrapment Rules Update
The rules now agree that the finger entrapment test—checking where fingers might get stuck—only needs to be conducted in places where there's a risk of injury during normal play, like within free spaces or where falls can happen.
4. Single Post Equipment Inspection
Equipment relying on a single post, whose failure could cause severe damage, now requires periodic inspection. These inspections can be performed every five years or when the rubber needs replacing.
5. Bouncing Facilities Guidelines
The Australian Standard (AS 4685) now includes definitions and safety requirements for bouncing facilities—essentially ground-level bouncers.
There are more updates to the AS 4685, specific to swings, slides, cableways, carousels, rocking equipment and more.
Play Inspect keeps abreast on these guideline updates to ensure that we are always aligned with regulatory requirements. We have you and your child’s well-being at the forefront of the work we do. Call us today to know more.