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Fall Height Criteria

Published on 
24/03/2008
 - 
Author: 
Peter Kells

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 wood fibre and synthetic rubber surfacing.

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.

For children aged 1 ½ - 5 years, the fall height is the height of the platform surface plus an additional 72.5 cm and for children aged 5 - 12 years, the fall height is the height of the platform surface plus an additional 95 cm.

These fall heights may concern the many owners with pre-2007 equipment. For this reason, the current standard Z614-14 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 Z614-14 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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