14 Jun 2015 Afamour

Playground manufacturers call for mandatory rule on child play area safety, common in all Spanish autonomy and town halls

  • The people's advocate, Soledad Becerril, criticizes in the Senate the lack of state safety standards in playgrounds and advocates that the safety of public child play areas is an important aspect of child protection.

The safety of public child play areas, as well as the prevention of possible accidents in them is one of the constant concerns of playground manufacturers.

Voluntarily, Spanish manufacturers comply with European regulations, the EN 1176 and 1177, which refers to the safety requirements that a playground must meet in its equipment and its surface area, Respectively. However, there is no mandatory safety standard that is common in all Spanish autonomy and town halls, as Afamour claims, the Spanish Association of manufacturers of street furniture and playgrounds.

Ombudsman's conclusions

Afamour shares the findings of the study on the safety and accessibility of child play areas just made public by the Ombudsman, and that points out that while in recent years, significant progress has been made in this area, ""some deficiencies and dysfunctions need to be addressed". ""An example of this," he says- is that to date there has been no mandatory rule for companies that are involved in the tendering of projects linked to the children's world, and they are those same manufacturers and installers of playgrounds that have long claimed legislation that is common" in all Spanish regions.

The report reveals that neither the General Administration of the State, nor most of the autonomous communities - with the exception of Galicia and Andalusia- municipalities have "mandatory minimum safety requirements" on the installation of, conservation and maintenance of playgrounds.

The Ombudsman recalls that according to another report, "Assessment of safety and accessibility in playgrounds-safeplay", published in 2013, the 75% of the playgrounds inspected in Spain suffered from some deficiency, good for lack of maintenance, either because of inadequate installation, ignorance of the norm or for area design issues and/or play equipment.

Inspections and maintenance, keys to security

This report argued that faced with the difficulty of controlling the behaviour and misuse of equipment by users, accidents can be minimized with good management of the playing area, along with continuous monitoring of incidents, maintenance and inspections. To do this - in addition to a common standard- it is necessary to monitor and inspect the play areas in an interrupted manner from installation to end of use.

""The rules of areas of play only refer to magnitudes as length, Weight, etc, of the equipment and these are usually already controlled by the manufacturer. However, there is no importance to the safety of the playing area (Maintenance, inspection, Installation)".

Since its founding, inspection and maintenance of play areas is one of Afamour's priority claims. In this sense, the association criticizes awards that prioritize the economic factor; "this criterion means that technical actions and the depth of inspections are not always the best possible".

Finally, Afamour recognizes the effort made by Spanish manufacturers for the quality and voluntary compliance of the aforementioned European regulations, and stresses that in recent years the overall rating of child safety for Spain has gone from "poor" to "good", according to the analysis of the "European Alliance for Child Safety".