ACT: safety alert issued for children’s play centres

The following article is a news item provided for the benefit of the Workplace Health and Safety profession. Its content does not necessarily reflect the views of the Australian Institute of Health & Safety.
Monday, 25 April, 2022 - 12:45
Policy & legislation
Australian Capital Territory

WorkSafe ACT recently issued a safety alert after being notified of several serious incidents regarding child safety at commercial children’s play centres.

Playgrounds can be made entertaining and safe for kids by following some simple safety steps and ensuring all equipment and behaviour is safe.

However, the regulator said the best way to help avoid injuries in playgrounds and commercial play centres is to actively supervise children at play at all times.

It is the responsibility of the person conducting the business or undertaking (PCBU) to make sure that all the staff members employed at the play centre have a valid working with vulnerable people registration and should have a suitably trained First Aid officer working on each shift.

This ensures that if an incident does happen, a staff member can immediately help the child and advise whether any further action is required.

PCBUs must ensure that inexperienced or junior staff are adequately supervised by a person with the appropriate experience, training and knowledge of what to do in the event of a dangerous incident or emergency.

Parents and carers should not assume that just because the play equipment is operating in a business, it is safe. Parents and carers can help by staying close to their children, especially when they’re trying something new or complicated and helping children to try new playground equipment safely.

The safety alert said swings, slides, and climbing equipment each have different safety concerns, so it’s important for the PCBU to maintain and regularly check all equipment and resources to ensure that they are working properly and not pose a risk to children.

All fixed playground equipment must meet the current Australian standards for playgrounds and, children should only use equipment that is age and ability appropriate. Consider how the layout of the equipment can minimise risks such as trip hazards, protruding objects and inappropriate surfacing beneath equipment.