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Soft play area standards

Notes on fully enclosed play equipment


  1. Fully enclosed play equipment is covered by EN 1176-10:2008 and The British Standard BS 8409: 2009. Although not mandatory, The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have made it clear that whilst compliance with these standards is recommended, it is the risks associated with the equipment which are of paramount importance.

    Compliance with the standards does not remove the operator's responsibility to ensure that equipment is safe; equally failure to comply does not necessarily mean that equipment is dangerous. The Courts have also made it clear that compliance with current standards does not remove the operator's obligation to have a safe area and that compliance cannot necessarily be used as defense in the event of litigation. It is essential therefore to have all new areas inspected by an organisation such as RoSPA before opening.
  2. RoSPA inspects against the relevant standards. The site and equipment are also assessed with the protection of the operator and contractor against litigation in mind.
  3. Play is all about "doing" and by "doing" accidents will from time to time occur. Play is an essential part of a child's physical and mental development and RoSPA believes that it is essential that a level of assessed challenge and risk is provided to enable children to properly develop their survival skills. Risk Assessment is all about balancing risk against return.
  4. The provisions of the Children Act 1989 might apply to some fully enclosed play facilities (consult your local authority on this if in doubt).
  5. All play frame equipment should be ordered to meet the requirements of current standards.
  6. When purchasing equipment the site operator should request confirmation that ancillary equipment meets the following standards:
    • Fire fighting equipment to BS 5306-8
    • Emergency Lighting to BS 5266-1 or BS EN 1838
    • Emergency escapes to BS 5395-1, BS 5395-2, BS 5395-3 or BS EN 1125 (as applicable)
    • Ventilation to BS 5720, BS 5925 or PD CR 1752 as appropriate
    • Lighting to BS 8206-1 and BS 8206-2
    • Soap and hand drying in toilets to BS 6465-1
    • PVC covered foam composites to BS 5852:1990, Section 4
    • Electrical installations to BS 7671.
  7. Maximum numbers: calculated at Table 1 BS EN 1176-10-2008.


BSEN 1176-2008, BS 8409 2009 and the HSE recommend the following inspection procedure for fully enclosed play equipment.

  1. A daily safety check should be undertaken by a competent member of staff. A relevant checklist should be provided by the supplier. (In a busy facility it may be necessary to carry out these checks before every session).
  2. An annual independent inspection (independent from operator and supplier) should be undertaken by a body such as RoSPA with the knowledge and experience of this type of facility.
    All inspections should be documented and records kept. RoSPA recommend a period of 21 years (RoSPA keep all their records for this time).

In addition safety testing should be carried out for areas in or adjacent to the play equipment.

These include:

  • Fixed electrical installation and portable electrical appliances
  • Gas equipment (including Carbon Monoxide monitors etc.)
  • Lifting equipment
  • Fire detection and fire fighting equipment

For all new play facilities a Post Installation Inspection should be obtained from RoSPA (or similar) to ensure site safety prior to the facility becoming operational.


The area should be maintained in a clean condition at all times. Only non-hazardous materials should be used.
There should be procedures in place for immediate cleaning and disinfecting where urination, defecation, vomiting or blood spillage could occur.
Note: Milton solution should not be used on URINE as the acid in urine reacts with the hypo chlorite to release toxic chlorine gas.
Urine should be cleared with a mild detergent and water.


All staff should receive appropriate training. RoSPA provides a range of appropriate training courses (contact RoSPA on +44 (0)1793 317470 for details). Training for staff on daily inspection procedures can be provided as part of the post installation inspection.

There should also be at least one member of staff on duty who is first aid trained.


For a list of suppliers of indoor soft play areas see the Members (Indoor) section of the Association of Play Industries web site

Contact Us

Playsafety Ltd *
+44 (0)1793 317470
[email protected]
Unit 78, Shrivenham Hundred Business Park, Watchfield, Swindon, SN6 8TY
* RoSPA’s activities in the area of play safety are carried out under an exclusive licence arrangement by an independent and highly experienced specialist company, “Playsafety Ltd” which trades under such licence as “RoSPA Play Safety”.