Compliance, Quality and Safety
Matta and Creative Playground Services both follow a rigorous quality control and testing regime which ensures that all product comes well within the prescribed safety limits. We are so confident of this, that if a newly-installed
If a newly installed playground was demonstrated by a certified independent testing agency to have failed to meet the required CFH, we would immediately rectify this and reimburse any costs the customer had incurred due to it.
We welcome the opportunity to conduct tests on any playground, whether the surfacing is Play Matta(TM) or another product.
Today’s playground owners are concerned that their playgrounds are not only functional, but are compliant with recognized safety standards. Specifically, they need their playgrounds to be compliant with Australian Standard 4422:1996.
Compliance with the Standard is mandatory for early childhood centres throughout Australia. The requirement for compliance by local councils and education authorities varies between States and from one individual authority to another. However, compliance with the Standard is widely recognised as the ‘industry best practice’ and is often written into legal contracts.
Another compelling reason to adhere to the Standard is that it is a means of dealing with legal liability issues. Play Matta(TM) Original is one of the few safety surfacing products available guaranteed and certified as being compliant with all required playground safety standards – right from manufacture to installation – and without further testing being necessary.
The standards worldwide are primarily focused on minimizing potentially fatal head injuries in children falling from playground equipment. They were developed from the work done by automotive engineers to predict and reduce head injuries suffered by people involved in car crashes.
For playgrounds the prescribed testing regime consists of a series of impact measurements conducted by dropping an instrumented headform from the maximum accessible height of the playground equipment.
The headform is connected to a piece of equipment containing three accelerometers positioned to obtain an accurate measure of the time/acceleration trace. The results of the test (where only the highest impact recordings are used in the calculation) are expressed in two measurements:
HIC, or head injury criterion. HIC is calculated from the time/acceleration trace and is a predictor of the probability of fatal head injury.
Gmax or maximum impact deceleration. This is the maximum deceleration experienced during an initial impact. It is expressed as a multiple of the acceleration constant g (as in ‘G-force’, the force of gravity at sea level).
The Australian Standards identify a HIC measurement of 1000 or greater and a Gmax measurement of 200 or greater as posing an unacceptable risk of serious head injury. This definition of a safe playground is translated into maximum equipment heights for a given playground surface.
Thus, if a playground surface achieves a critical fall height result of, say, 2.6 metres and the maximum accessible height of the equipment is 1.8 metres, then the playground can be said to be well within the definition of a safe playground.
People who have difficulty walking or maintaining balance or who use mobility devices – like children learning to walk or with disabilities – are particularly sensitive to slipping and tripping hazards. For such people, a rigid, stable and regular surface is best for walking, playing and propelling wheelchairs.
Play Matta Surfacing Systems have been tested and comply with the demanding ASTM and ADA Accessibility Standards out of the United States.
The Australian Standards aim to ensure that playground surfaces are not too slick, resulting in slips and falls. Play Matta(TM) playground surfacing complies with all applicable Australian, European and US Standards relating to slip resistance.
As well as this, Play Matta was also deliberately engineered to strike a balance with a coefficient of friction that is not excessive, making the surface too ‘grippy’ – a common cause of long-bone fractures in young children.
Play Matta(TM) has been successfully tested using both the method recommended in the Australian Standard regarding flammability, and with the more stringent ASTM Standard (in force in the USA). In one informal testing situation a school official attempted to set fire to a Play Matta(TM) playground with a gas welder. The tile surface was scorched, but failed to ignite.