The Legal Position

There is no legal requirement for protective soft surfacing to be provided on children's playgrounds. It is, however, recommended by safety organisations such as RoSPA, BSI, NPFA and CAPT.

The Department of the Environment ‘strongly recommended’ its use in 1978 while the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (currently the Government’s lead body on playgrounds) advised its use in their Playground Safety Guidelines (1993) as one of the design elements of a safe playground. The Health and Safety Executive has also recommended it.

It is fair to say that recent out-of-court settlements arising from playground accidents have suggested the courts recognise that the provision of suitable surfaces represents good practice, especially under new equipment.