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Safer Playgrounds Goal of Revised Standard

Safer design of swings, jungle gyms, and landing surfaces in public playgrounds are the main focus of revisions to ASTM F 1487, Standard Consumer Safety Performance Specification for Playground Equipment for Public Use, devised to raise national safety standards. The revised standard, which requires elimination of sharp edges and other precautions, will be available in early October.

Collaborating on the revision were designers, planners, architects, playground safety consultants, owner/operators, product manufacturers, and insurance representatives in ASTM Subcommittee F15.29 on Playground Equipment for Public Use. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), National Recreation and Park Association, National Playground Safety Institute, National Program for Playground Safety, and International Play Equipment Manufacturers’ Association participated.

“During 1999 the CPSC estimated that about 156,000 victims were treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms for injuries associated with public playground equipment,” the standard states. “About three fourths of these injuries resulted from falls, primarily to the surface on which the equipment was located. Other hazard patterns involved impact by swings and other moving equipment and contact with protrusions, pinch points, and sharp edges. Fatalities reported to the CPSC resulted from falls; entanglement of clothing or similar items on equipment; entanglement in ropes tied to or caught on equipment; head entrapment; impact by equipment that tipped over or otherwise failed; and impact by moving swings.”

Developed under the jurisdiction of ASTM Committee F15 on Consumer Products, F 1487 was devised to encourage a reduction of life-threatening or debilitating injuries. Eighteen pages describe materials, manufacture, performance, access/egress, playground layout, accessibility, installation, structural integrity, maintenance, and labeling.

Revisions to F 1487 involve clarifications, according to subcommittee chairman Frances Wallach, Ed.D., president, Total Recreation Management Services, Inc., New York, N.Y. They include “testing for partially bounded openings; exemptions for pinch, crush, and shear points; establishment of fall height dimensions; [and] use zone requirements,” she explained.

For further technical information, contact Frances Wallach, Ed.D., Total Recreation Management Services, Inc., New York, N.Y. (phone: 212/321-2546; fax: 212/912-1345). To learn about ASTM Committee F15 membership or meetings, contact Director Kathie Morgan (phone: 610/832-9721). //

Copyright 2001, ASTM