Slip Prevention For Parks
There are various situations and environments which will require specific flooring material, to ensure the highest possible health and safety is taken into account. This article will explore the different types of flooring that can be used within the different areas of a recreational park and will help you to identify the factors that you should consider throughout construction and maintenance.
Wet Play Areas
Splash pads, often known as wet play areas, are discrete areas that contain water-play features. They may contain play structures, but do not contain a substantial depth of water. These areas are great for young children to experience play in the water, without the risk of water levels being too high for them.
However, they are not as safe as they should be, and people are being injured. According to the National Electronic Injury database, in 2014 alone, there were an estimated 20,000 injuries on pool decks, splash pads, or water parks resulting in an emergency room visit. The common cause in many of these injuries and closures related to them is the surface. The most common splash pad surface is broomed concrete, often treated with an abrasive coating.
Instead of using this, what should be implemented is a safety surface that is both cushioned and slip-resistant without being abrasive. A more cushioned surface will meet the highest safety requirements for flooring and thus reduce the risk of slips, trips and falls.
There are so many material options and each provides your space with different benefits. Not only that, but there are a number of factors you need to consider such as safety, accessibility, fun, type of surface, and affordability. Below are some options which you may consider when choosing what material to use on a recreational park playground:
- Tarmac - Durable, minimal maintenance & cost effective for large areas
- Wood Chips - Good shock absorbency, all-natural, easy to source, recycled playground flooring & easy to maintain
- Shredded Rubber - Shock resistant, stays in place & high focus on safety
- Artificial Grass - Provides a safe play surface for children, stays green and dry (regardless of weather) & requires little maintenance
Regardless of what flooring you choose to use, a children's playground should be inspected annually by an independent specialist to ensure the long term safety of the site and it’s equipment. If you opt for an easy to maintain solid surface then ensure you have it slip tested regularly in order to make sure it still meets high slip resistant standards.
In the UK many sports courts are very slippery due to factors such as weather and high levels of wearing. HSE (Health and Safety Executive) has carried out surveys to find that one in 3 non fatal major injuries are through slips and trips so it is key to make sure all the flooring for sports pitches is maintained accurately.
There are various tests that can be carried out to ensure full safety of these types of areas. For example, slip resistance testing to tennis courts is carried out to BS7976 pendulum slip tests standards or BS EN 13036-4 Surfacing Testing. They are carried out to make sure the surfacing to ball courts, multi use games areas and tennis pitches are a safe environment for the players and monitors the playing performance too.
Pathways will always have significant footfall, no matter where they are located. Therefore, careful selection, construction and maintenance of these surfaces can have a significant impact on the number of accidents that visitors and staff could potentially experience. Important considerations to take into account when choosing the most appropriate surface is how it will be used, its setting, environment and the landscape around it.
You will need to ensure that the slip resistance in both wet and dry conditions and surface roughness need to be a necessity. Other factors to think about are durability, wear and maintenance requirements as well as cost and appearance.
If you are a local council throughout the UK or persons responsible for the upkeep of a recreational park and are unsure as to whether you need to modify the surfaces give our team a call today. We have years of experience working with local councils and government agencies offering first class slip testing reports in order to measure how safe surfaces are for the end user.