How safe is playground and recreational equipment? Good playground and recreational equipment should primarily have the following characteristics:high playing quality, attractivity and safety.
Playing quality and attractivity must be considered as early as during planning stage. Safety depends mainly on construction, but also on installation and arrangement on site.
Quite often attractive playground equipment with high playing quality entails dangers. Correct falling is a learning process. Injuries can always occur as 100% safety is hardly ever possible.
Safe playground and recreational equipment should fulfill the following criteria :
· necessary structural integrity and stability
· no dangerous traps and playing sequences with clearly recognizable dangers
· the required free spaces and falling spaces
· physio-chemical and mechanical examinations on site and in laboratories
· metallographic examinations
· impact attenuating surface depending on the free fall height
· consequent management of inspection and maintenance
Swimming pools have a great experiential value. Spectacular attractions like water slides, wave machines and counter-current pools are intended to provide more bathing fun for customers. But statistics show that sometimes problems spoil the enjoyment. The larger and more elaborate the swimming complexes, the higher the risk.
The TÜV AUSTRIA experts make sure that swimmers in public swimming pools, hotels and wellness facilities can enjoy their hobby safely.
Risks and safety in swimming pools | Tripping and falling on slippery surfaces | Sucking in of hair and body parts | Water slides | Flumes | Lifters | Water features.
Risks and safety in swimming pools
A European set of rules and regulations on safety requirements concerning the design, construction and operation of swimming pools has recently come into force but is as yet rarely observed in practice. TÜV AUSTRIA has developed a system to support planners and operators in regard to safety in the scope of which the swimming pool in question is tested comprehensively and upgraded to the required level of safety.
Tripping and falling on slippery surfaces
Swimming pools are potentially slippery slopes. It is safe to say that tripping and falling are the main causes for accidents in public swimming pools. Around a third of all accidents in swimming pools are attributed to this. Damp or wet tiles pose a hazard in swimming complexes that must not be underestimated. Another source of danger is the grated cover of a swimming pool’s overflow channel, for example.
TÜV AUSTRIA is able to increase overall safety by testing the slip resistance of various facilities.
Sucking in of hair and body parts
The risk of accident in swimming pools is not limited to slippery surfaces. In reaction to some severe accidents, the Federal Ministry of Health issued a decree that requires swimming pool operators to have the suction points of pool water inspected.
Hair entrapment test
TÜV AUSTRIA has reacted to the call for hair entrapment tests by procuring special testing equipment: the TÜV inspectors have been provided with special measuring instruments and diving equipment so as to be able to identify critical spots on a pool’s floor and walls.
TÜV AUSTRIA has tested pool outlets where forces were so high that the testing equipment holding the test hair could only be removed from the suction grate by destroying it.
Water slides: Testing procedure developed by TÜV AUSTRIA
Water slides pose a major accident hazard. 10 to 14-year-old children are most at risk. Users may fall off the slide, collide with the slide or with other users who are mostly children, etc. This is why TÜV AUSTRIA has developed a testing procedure that helps establish the hazards for users on such leisure facilities to make critical spots safer.
Operators benefit from the testing procedure in that TÜV AUSTRIA informs them about which parts of the slide are particularly adventurous and where they must take special care that users refrain from romping about.
This attraction, where users are carried through the chute by the speed of the water alone, is very popular with young and old alike.
Ill-suited passage of the water in particular poses a risk, as it may cause users to bump against parts of the facility, to get stuck or be injured by the water nozzles.
TÜV AUSTRIA ensures the safe use of such facilities for swimmers.
Swimming pools are also frequented by people with limited mobility. There are lifting devices on the market to help these people by lifting them into and out of the pool.
Mandatory testing of such devices is carried out by TÜV AUSTRIA on a regular basis. It is crucial that the devices are sufficiently stable.
Since small children need constant activity in public swimming pools, great fun is provided for them in the form of water features, i.e. a cross between playground equipment and a swimming facility. No standards or test specifications exist for such facilities.
TÜV AUSTRIA helps manufacturers to realise a version of their facility that complies with the local conditions of the serviced bathing complex. Safe swimming pleasure is guaranteed in TÜV-inspected facilities, provided that visitors follow some simple rules of conduct.