Grace-Kells Playground Safety Consultant provides comprehensive playground inspections, testing and evaluation of playground surface impact, and training and seminars on playground-related issues

"Play is a critically important avenue for social,
cultural, affective, physical and mental development..."
Jean Piaget

New Fall Height Criteria

Falls from play equipment are a major cause of playground injuries. For that reason, the CSA Standard Z614 specifies criteria for surrounding the base of playground equipment with impact-absorbing materials. The most common materials are sand, pea gravel (i.e. small round pebbles), wood fibre and synthetic rubber surfacing.

New fall height criteria introduced in the CSA Standard Z614-07 further reduce the potential for injuries from falls. This change does not affect owners with playground installations before 2007 since surface impact tests must perform to the fall height in effect at the time of installation. The test procedure the CSA Standard references uses a Triax which is an electronic tool that when dropped from a given height measures impact properties on contact with the surface below. The Standard designates various heights on equipment from where the drops (i.e. fall heights) are to be performed and the acceptable readings.

The 2007 Canadian Standard edition specifies this new, higher fall height for all platforms. For children aged 1 - 5 years, the new fall height is the height of the platform surface plus an additional 72.5 cm and for children aged 5 - 12 years, the new fall height is the height of the platform surface plus an additional 95 cm.

A change like this may concern the many owners with pre-2007 equipment. For this reason, Z614-07 includes a specific clause that clearly states that surface impact tests are to be "conducted from the fall height determined in accordance with the edition of the Standard in effect at the time of installation". Even if the criteria of Z614-07 are applied to an older play space, the Standard clearly specifies that the fall height is determined according to the date of installation.



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