Playground Safety Inspection – Is your safety surface safe?
Some safety surfacing questions to ask yourself after looking at a play area in San Ramon California.
Photo (I was the equipment sales consultant for Country Club E.S. in San Ramon)
This school has engineered wood fiber (EWF) for the safety surfacing. EWF is a wood product that may look similar in appearance to landscaping mulch, but EWF products are designed specifically for use in playgrounds. The EWF should meet the specifications in ASTM F2070 and to be tested to comply with ASTM F1292 – it needs to measure between a specific size, must be only wood (no metal, bark or other debris). Important tips when considering loose -fill materials:
The loose – fill will compress at least 25% over time due to use and weathering. This must be considered when planning the amount of fill you will need. If your playground requires 9″ (the recommended minimum) of wood fiber than you will need to start with a depth of 12″. Loose – fill surfacing requires frequent maintenance to ensure the proper levels. At the ends of slides, under swings or other high traffic areas the fiber will become lower and need to be pushed back. Additional safety surfacing products may be a good idea where you want to be assured a compliant level of safety surface coverage. A rubber wear mat may be the answer.
The perimeter of the playground should provide a curb/border to hold the loose – fill.
Make sure you regularly top off the EWF so sufficient levels are maintained. Due to wind, weather and the displacement and discomposure the wood fiber will need to be ordered annually or as needed for your playground.
Good drainage is essential to maintain the life of the wood and stop rapped discomposure. Standing water is not your friend.
Installing loose – fill over hard surfaces is not recommended. In fact you will need to take steps to counter act the hard surface and add a layer of gravel that is 3″-6″ under your EWF with a sheet of geotextile.
Contact me if you have questions about your safety surface. 650-576-6677 Craig Faitel