Early Learning Regulatory Update – February 2018

Regulatory reminders for the Early Learning sector for February 2018, about safety responsibilities for playgrounds in early learning services.

Playground safety responsibilities

Playground safety

The start of the year is a good time to check that your premises and equipment are safe and suitable. It is also a good time to work with your team to review your hazard, risk management and supervision plans and practices. The licensing criteria guidance on our website will help you do this.

Check your premises, equipment and surfacing

Check that your indoor and outdoor items and surfaces, furniture, equipment and materials are safe and suitable for their intended use. Outdoor activity space must be safe, well-drained and suitably surfaced.

The Playground Equipment and Surfacing Standard (NZS5828:2015) is a good tool for reviewing playground safety. The standard specifies general requirements for playground equipment and surfacing, and promotes and encourages playgrounds that are well-designed, well-constructed, well-maintained, innovative and challenging. A supporting handbook accompanies the standard.

You can purchase the standard from Standards New Zealand(external link) and use it to assess your equipment yourself. Or you can engage the services of a playground safety expert, an engineer or playground equipment company to assess your play equipment and surfacing for compliance with the standard.

Read the premises and facilities criteria and guidance relevant for your service on our website.

Review your hazard, risk management and supervision plans and practices

Review your hazard, risk management and supervision plans and practices to ensure that risks to children are eliminated, isolated or minimised.

Equipment, premises and facilities must be checked on every day of operation for hazards to children. Records should be regularly analysed to identify hazards and action taken.

Active and focused supervision is an essential component of hazard and risk management. The guidance for the hazard and risk management criterion includes some considerations for good supervision practice, as well as tools and checklists. 

Read the hazard and risk management guidance for centre-based services, kōhanga reo, home-based services, hospital-based services and playgroups. There is also specific guidance to help home-based services meet supervision requirements.

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