Get up and get out!……..we’ve all heard that from our parents down the years, and maybe some of us are now hearing ourselves repeat that message to our own kids. Maybe our parents were pioneers in understanding the importance of maintaining physical activity, or maybe they were sick of the sight of some of us lazing around in front of the TV. What is clear is the importance of physical activity to our overall health, which cannot be overstated.
Many schools nationwide are investing in play equipment to target increased physical activity amongst pupils. A frequent query in recent months relates to schools considering climbing walls and/or climbing boards. Below we outline some considerations when considering a climbing wall or climbing board.
As with all playground equipment it is critical that your climbing wall or climbing board are risk assessed. They also must be included in your schools Safety Statement, along with procedures and protocols surrounding their safe operation and supervision. Some items to consider when risk assessing your climbing wall or climbing board are:
- Manufacturers Guidelines must be followed
o the climbing area must be free from obstacles
o the equipment must be fixed to a surface/wall that is not hazardous and strong enough to bear the weight of the pupils
o the equipment must be fixed at a height not greater than that recommended by the manufacturer
o It is crucial that an impact absorbing surface is fitted that reflects the critical fall height of equipment i.e. the distance between the manufacturer's highest designated play area of the equipment and the surface underneath
o Professional advice must be sought to ensure the depth of the impact absorbing surface is adequate for the critical fall height presented.
o the nature of the activity
o the age of the children and their ability
o their care needs
This will dictate the level of supervision required
- Clothing, footwear and jewellery
o it is essential that adequate clothing and footwear is worn by pupils using the equipment
o jewellery including rings, necklaces and earrings are removed
o Pupils hair is tied up
A procedure must be in place to ensure supervisors and pupils comply with same
- Safety Standards
o it is essential the climbing wall or climbing board complies with the relevant safety standards, EN1176 & EN1177, for playground equipment and surfaces
o certification of compliance must be sought from the installers and held on record
o regular documented weekly inspections must be undertaken and the equipment taken out of use if an issue is identified, until rectified
o an annual independent inspection must be undertaken
If you wish to discuss any issues in particular please feel free to contact our School Support Team on 01 6133966* (Mon - Fri, 9am - 5pm) or through firstname.lastname@example.org. As always you can also contact your to discuss. If you are insured through an insurance intermediary then please contact them directly for assistance.
*Calls may be recorded.