MasterPlay - Playgrounds - Playground Safety Standards (SANS)

South Africa National Standards (SANS)

This from The Playground Safety Institute which is the leading authority in playground safety in South Africa. (


Standards are generally considered the minimum standard of care. This standard of care is imposed by the new "Duty of Care" application of the law.

The aim of the standards is to reduce the severity of accidents and deaths. The international community has been using playground safety standards as early as 1976 and in some countries even as early as 1929.

The implementation of playground safety standards internationally has proven to reduce accidents and deaths by as much as 80%. This is a triumph which cannot be ignored and South Africa cannot continue to deny or ignore the reality of serious injuries and deaths on playgrounds in South Africa.

The Playground Safety Institute assisted the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) with publishing playground safety standards for South Africa in 2010.

The South African National Standards include:

  • South African National Standard SANS 51176 parts 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,10 and 11
    • General requirements and test Methods for playground equipment
  • South African National Standard SANS 51177
    • Surfacing requirements underneath playground equipment
  • South African National Standard SANS 54960
    • Inflatable amusement and play equipment - Safety requirements and test methods

Events with mobile amusement rides have recently come to the attention of Public Safety Authorities. This includes giant slides, other large inflatable amusement play equipment, mechanical bull rides, zip lines, motorised go-carts, quad bikes et cetera have also caused serious injuries and fatalities to children and adults.

The SANS standards are used in conjunction with the following statutory and common laws in litigation and for compensation for injury and death.

Applying Laws

  • The Occupational Health and Safety Act of 1993.
  • Department of Labour Safety Regulations
  • The South African Bill of Rights. (section two - exposure of children to hazards)
  • The Child Care Act 74 of 1983 amended in 2010 (environment safety of children in partial care)
  • Disaster Management Act No. 57 of 2002
  • The South African Schools Act, 1996 (act no.84 of 1996) regulations for Safety Measures at public schools. (Section 8A, 8B, 8D, 8E, 8F, 9,4)
  • Municipal by- laws - Local Health Department  (licensing of crèches and early childhood development centres, exposure of children to dangerous structures, this includes dangerous  and poorly maintained play structures or absence of maintenance)
  • Common Law ( negligence, recklessness)
  • Duty of Care ("standard of care" as set out by the Department of Social Development)
  • South African National Consumer Act (sale, supply, distribution of unsafe products including playground equipment and unsafe inflatable jumping castles, slides etc.)

All Stakeholders must ensure compliance with the standards. These stakeholders include:

  •   playground equipment manufactures and designers
  • playground equipment suppliers and installers
  • playground maintenance contractors
  • schools, primary and pre-primary schools
  • early childhood development centres and crèches
  • event organizers, event management and event safety coordinators
  • amusement ride operators or contractors including inflatable amusement ride hirers and inflatable amusement ride manufacturers
  • indoor and outdoor adventure play parks and party venues
  • 1  municipal public parks
  • holiday resorts, hotels and guest houses
  • restaurants
  • travel rest facilities at petrol station
  • zoo and other park and recreational facilities
  • garden centres with playgrounds and play equipment
  • housing complexes with play parks and play equipment
  • liability insurers
  • personal injury attorneys

It is recommended that an annual safety audit be conducted on your playground equipment by a playground safety professional. These audits will help you to identify hazards on your playground and playground equipment. The audit will help you to eliminate, mitigate and control any hazards which are dangerous or life threatening and should be part of your playground safety management programme.

By selecting a Playground Safety Auditor that is registered with the Playground Safety Institute, will ensure that your auditor has been trained and tested according to international standards and best practice.

Certification for playground safety auditors is only valid for three years. Ensure that your playground safety auditor has in-date certification. Check for expiry date of certification or contact the Playground Safety Institute to see if the playground safety auditor is currently certified.