Play Equipment Safety
Managing strangulation hazards on play equipment
Strangulation can cause serious injury, and in some cases death. There have been incidents where a young child has become entangled in a rope or cord while playing on play equipment.
Any situation where a child has access to ropes or cords is hazardous. Ropes or cords that can be caught around the neck carry the risk of strangulation. This risk is increased when children are climbing or sliding at height, as they can become entangled in the rope or cord and accidental hanging may occur.
Children will often use toys and play equipment in inventive ways. This may include taking a rope or cord (or toys that include a rope or cord) onto elevated play equipment such as a slide or platform. Children may also move the position of ropes that are part of the elevated play equipment. In both situations, there is a risk that the rope or cord may become caught around the child’s neck resulting in the risk of strangulation.
- Ensure all play equipment complies with a recognised Australian or New Zealand standard. If it does not meet this standard, engage a competent person to verify that it is safe for use.
- The Person Conducting the Business or Undertaking (PCBU) should have a system in place to frequently inspect all play equipment for strangulation hazards. Pay attention to any ropes, cords or snagging points that form part of the play equipment.
- PCBUs should also regularly re-assess existing hazards and identify any potential new risks.
- PCBUs should prevent children from taking ropes or cords (or toys that include a rope or cord) onto elevated play equipment where reasonably practicable.
- Children should be appropriately supervised while using play equipment. PCBUs can undertake a risk assessment and refer to guidance to ensure this. Appropriate supervision may include keeping children within sight at all times.
- Introduction to the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 – Special Guide
- Managing Risks
- Risks for People in Education
- Land-borne Inflatable Device Operating Requirements
- Recognised standards such as:
- NZS 5828:2015 Playground Equipment and Surfacing
- NZS 5828: -2-2006 Supervised Childhood Facilities, Playground and Surfacing Handbook
- AS 3533.4.1-2005 Land-borne Inflatable Devices
This information is relevant for:
- childcare facilities
- commercial play facility providers
- private and homebased childcare
- organised leisure programmes
- after school care/OSCAR Programmes
- playground equipment designers and manufacturers.