Kidsafe NSW Inc. Newsletter
Playground News October 2019
1 Nov 2019

In This Issue


Welcome back Kay!

2019 has been a year filled with challenge for Kidsafe NSW, especially our Playground Advisory Unit (PAU) team.

Kay has been on extended leave since January, and the team pushed on in her absence, which is marked by many achievements and results that attest to their respective efforts.

On behalf of Kay and myself, we would like to thank Kim Cooke, as Acting Manager and Shawn Little, Project Officer, for their continued hard work and adaptability. Special mention should also go to Belinda Aussel, our Administration Assistant, who kept the Unit’s logistics totally under control. Also to the entire Kidsafe team for their personal support and professional assistance in supporting the Unit during the past months.

Over the next three months, Kim will continue in the role of Acting Manager and Kay will take on the role of Training and Education Manager, as she will be returning part-time.

Based on your comments and suggestions, our team hopes to influence the development of new solutions and products through the various working groups in which the Kidsafe PAU actively participates. It is exciting to see some of the challenging and wonderful playgrounds that have opened this year throughout NSW.

Christine Erskine, Executive Officer

And from Kay – ‘Thank you to the many people who sent messages and well wishes for my husband’s recovery following his critical motor vehicle accident. He is doing well’.

Standards Update

The following draft Standards were open for public comment earlier in October 2019:

• AS 4685.1 Playground equipment and surfacing, Part 1: General safety requirements and test methods
• AS 4685 Playground equipment and surfacing, Parts 2, 3, 4 & 6 (NB: Part 5 is yet to be reviewed)
• AS 16630 Permanently installed outdoor fitness equipment - Safety requirements and test methods

Kidsafe NSW PAU will keep readers informed of future developments and publication dates. 

Everyone Can Play Grants

Applications are now open for the Everyone Can Play Grants 2019-20. They close 12pm (midday), Wednesday, 11 December 2019.

Everyone Can Play is a commitment to the future of inclusive play in NSW that will encourage the creation of inclusive playspaces across NSW. The NSW Government is committed to supporting councils to create playspaces that cater to people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities.

As part of the $20 million Everyone Can Play program, an annual grant scheme has been established to partner with councils across NSW to design and construct new inclusive playspaces and to upgrade existing playspaces in line with the Everyone Can Play Guideline.

In 2019-20, up to $4 million is available to NSW councils to fund inclusive playspace projects. Funds that are awarded must be matched by councils, dollar for dollar.

Comprehensive Playground Inspection Services

The Kidsafe NSW Playground Advisory Unit (PAU) is available to conduct comprehensive playground inspections for both existing playgrounds and newly installed playgrounds, post installation.

The purpose of the comprehensive playground inspection is to:
• Establish the overall safety of the equipment, foundations and playground surfaces
• Identify and report on non-compliance with the Australian Standards
• Identify potential hazards on and in the playspace including equipment, design and installation, maintenance issues and environmental conditions.

Each identified non-compliance is risk assessed and suggestions for rectification are included in a written report.

If you are interested in a comprehensive playground inspection or a comprehensive post installation playground inspection, please call the Kidsafe PAU on 02 98450893 to discuss your requirements and obtain a quote.

Regional Visits

The Kidsafe PAU schedules visits to regional NSW throughout the year. The visit may include nationally recognised training or workshops, and the opportunity for playground owners to engage qualified Kidsafe Inspectors to conduct a comprehensive playground inspection.

Nationally Recognised Playground Inspection Courses

Kidsafe NSW is approved to conduct the following nationally recognised courses for playground inspection.

• Visual Playground Inspection Course - AHCPGD206 Conduct visual inspection of park facilities. This one day course provides participants with the knowledge and skills to conduct routine inspection to identify visual hazards in parks, recreational facilities and playgrounds.
• Operational Playground Inspection Course - AHCPGD305 Conduct operational inspection of park facilities. This 2 day course provides participants with the knowledge and skills to conduct operational inspection of parks, recreational facilities and playgrounds to identify hazards, existing and potential risks, non-compliance with Australian Standards, and workplace health and safety requirements.
• Comprehensive Playground Inspection Course - AHCPGD505 Conduct comprehensive inspection of park facilities. This 3 day course provides participants with the knowledge and skills to conduct comprehensive (annual or post installation) compliance inspection of park or recreation facilities to identify non-compliance with Australian Standards, legislative and work health and safety requirements, as well as manufacturers’ standards. It will be offered as a 2 day course for participants who have completed AHCPGD305.

Risk - Challenges and Hazards

Risk is a topic that Kidsafe provides advice about everyday. Risk can have both positive and negative outcomes so when we think of risk in relation to playground safety we refer to them as ‘challenges’ and ‘hazards.’ 

The ‘Dirt’ on Dirt

All about dirt for digging patches, mud kitchens and mud pits explained- clear as mud!

So while sand goes into sand pits, what goes into a mud patch, digging patch or a mud kitchen? Mud?! Doesn't dirt and water make mud? So is it dirt or is it soil, potting mix, garden mix or soil conditioner that I'm looking for?

Perhaps the best dirt for ‘mud pies’ is soil dug straight from the backyard, however there are exceptions. Some inner city and mining areas have been exposed to heavy metals at elevated levels.

There are safe, readily available products from nurseries, soil and landscape suppliers. Sold as both a bagged and a loose material, sand and clay loam can fit any sized project.

Look for play sand, double washed river sand and sand, silt, and clay mix (commonly called baseball or ball pitch soil). Each area in NSW has different mixes available depending on local soil conditions, local industry requirements and local businesses.

Sand mixes are the preferred materials for digging patches, mud pits and mud kitchens. Mix in approximately 1/3 sand to 2/3 soil to provide a more friable and digable mix. Discuss your requirements with your local landscape supplier.

Playing with water and soil is about exploring the effects, sculpting, painting and moulding. The ability to make whatever you want also creates a context for imaginative play. Mud kitchens can have grass blades in muddy water as the soup of the day. Mud turtles with leaf flippers may be slowly making their way to the ocean.

So start with the basics - dirt + water and add or change play props to suit the themes developing from the new world of possibilities.

Kidsafe NSW
C/- CHW Locked Bag 4001
ABN: 29532079872

Phone: 02 9845 0890
Kidsafe NSW Inc.

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