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Below are selected/relevant questions that have been sent to PSAM, to which is published for public knowledge.

Member of the public or PSAM members may submit your question pertaining to playground safety to enquiry@psam.org.my with your details (pseudonym may be used) but actual contact details must be provided so we can provide a direct email answer or you may fill your enquiry.

Q:

This is a playground in Putrajaya which was recently installed. This woman's finger got stuck on the platform and required Fire Dept to cut open the platform to release the finger. Is this in conformance to safety standards?

Now with it broken, who should replace it?

 

A:

We cannot really see from the picture unless measured at the site. However, the hole opening on the platform should be less than 8mm in diameter to prevent the finger from entering. The finger entrapment rule is measured using a finger rod probes, one measuring 8mm in diameter and another using 25mm diameter rod.

If the 8mm rod DOES NOT pass through the hole, then it is deemed safe.
If the 8mm rod passes through the hole, we follow with the 25mm rod.
If the 25mm rod does not pass through, then it is deemed as a finger entrapment hazard.
If the 25mm pass through, then it is deemed safe.

On the issue of replacement, theoretically if the holes of the deck fail the finger entrapment test, and the owners purchase the equipment in good faith that the equipment conforms to safety standard, then under warranty, the hazards should be removed and replaced by the manufacturers.

Owners of the playground should take immediate action to see all the holes do not pose the danger to avoid a repeat of the incident.

On a separate note, we are in the opinion that the opening on the stairs (first picture on the right) is suspected to fail the head entrapment test too if the opening is between 89mm to 230mm, which again remedial step should be taken promptly to ensure it is safe.


Q: 

Can my 3-year-old son play on a playground equipment? It looks very dangerous.

 

A:

Playground equipment is generally catered for children age 2 - 12. They are normally categorized into 2 group, age 2 -5 years old (toddlers) and age 6 -12 years (children). Within these 2 categories, there are different requirements and standard set forth to ensure that they are safe for use for those age group.

Ideally, all equipment must have a signage that stipulates which age group the equipment is for. If it is not there, parents/guardians should take note especially those within the toddler group of equipment not recommended for toddlers, eg.

  • Arch Climbers
  • Chain/Cable Walk
  • Monkey Bars/ Horizontal Ladder 1.5m above ground level
  • Track Rides
  • Fireman/ Sliding Poles

More information on age-appropriate equipment can be found at http://www.pgpedia.com/a/age-appropriate.


Q: 

How thick of safety mat do I need for a playground? Is 25mm thick enough?

 

A:

It depends on the equipment maximum fall height, which means the highest point the user can fall from. Check with the manufacturer on its fall height. In ensuring the flooring is safe, PSAM recommends that the flooring MUST be able to absorb the impact safely from fall at fall height level.

In technical terms, the impact from the fall height on the surface must be <1000 HIC (Head Injury Criterion) The Head Injury Criterion (HIC) is a measure of the likelihood of head injury arising from an impact, using a drop test equipment.

For example, if the equipment maximum fall height is 1.8m, the flooring that you can use, regardless of what material of choice, must show (test lab report) that at that thickness of the material, the drop test at 1.8m or higher has a recording less than 1000 HIC.


Q: 

Why is it some local authorities disallow the use of tube slide and crawl tubes in the playground equipment while some are ok with it? Is tube slide actually safe?

 

A:

There are no standards anywhere that stipulate that tube slides are not safe, other than the requirement of the tube diameter must be>580mm according to ASTM 1487-13, or >750mm for EN 1176-11/MS 966-01, to avoid body entrapment hazards.

What components or equipment that are disallowed by respective authorities are of their own prerogative, whether they deem it as potential hazards or due to maintenance reason or some other reasons.

In the case of tube slides and crawlers, one main safety concern raised is the risk that there could be sharp objects (eg broken glass or used syringes) lodged in between the tube sections (whether intentional or accidental) that may not be visible externally which can cause serious injuries.


Q: 

Is the distance between the two seesaws enough? We have measured it at 1.9m between them.

 

A:

Yes, provided the seesaw fall height is less than 760mm in height. Seesaw requires a safety zone extended at least 1.8m (72") from the edge of the equipment. Safety zones for seesaw <760mm height may FULLY OVERLAP with the next equipment safety zone IF the other equipment's safety zone allows overlapping, which in this case another similar seesaw. Note however safety zone distances and overlapping rules differ for different equipment and components.


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