The Australian Standard ASNZS 4685:2014 details the usage of impact absorbing materials in children’s playground and defines relevant terms and conditions.The standard prescribes that for free fall heights of 600mm or greater the fall zone must be covered with Softfall material of certified Critical Fall Height greater than the free fall height. For free fall heights of less than 600mm, non certified impact absorbing material may be used in the fall zones.
Further conditions apply to loose fill material. It should be installed to the depth shown in the test report, which should be not less than 200mm. However because it will deteriorate during use, an additional depth (the material allowance) should be laid in high traffic areas, such as under swings and slippery dips. An additional 20% depth is required.
The free fall height refers to the greatest vertical distance to the ground from any platform or railing on playground equipment to which a child has access.
The fall zone is the area of ground under the base of equipment. For early childhood play it is 1.5m wide in all directions and for older children 1.5m to 2.5m wide depending on equipment height.