The Play Providers Association

Legislation and Standards

Over the last few years there has been a considerable increase in the number of indoor “soft play” areas. At the same time the scope of activities in these areas has increased and more adventurous items are constantly being introduced. The following guidelines are meant to help both established site operators and also those seeking to establish a new venture.


It is vital for new operators entering the industry to have a sound understanding of the standards and guidelines which we work towards. For indoor play this is BSEN 1176-10 and BS 8409.

BS EN 1176-10:2008

Playground equipment and surfacing. Additional specific safety requirements and test methods for fully enclosed play equipment - Purchase this standard from BSI (click here)

BS 8409:2009 Fully enclosed play facilities. Code of practice

BS 8409 is an important standard to improve safety records and reduce risks in indoor play areas for children.BS 8409 will help play providers develop facilities that children find enjoyable and reduce the risk of serious or disabling injury and it gives recommendations for and guidance on supplier selection, safe operation and management of fully enclosed play facilities and associated buildings. BS 8409 has been updated to take into account the publication of BS EN 1176-10. BS 8409:2009, together with BS EN 1176-10, replaces BS 8409:2002, which is now withdrawn. Purchase this standard from BSI (click here)

Fire Safety

Sunday October 1st 2006 saw the introduction of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order. This regulation places the responsibility for fire safety training and risk assessments on to the 'responsible person*' within every organisation in England and Wales.* This is the person who owns the premises/business or the person with control over the premises, business or activity. Wheretwo or more responsible persons share responsibility the responsible persons must co-operate and share information and also collaborate to provide safety measures.


A well-documented inspection regime is essential and may be a condition of your insurance. The following inspections are recommended to be undertaken:

New Facilities: A Post Installation Inspection by a competent person is advised for all new indoor play facilities to determine safety and standard compliance.

Daily: Pre-opening: Inspection to look for signs of damage, vandalism etc. In busy times more than one such inspection may be necessary. Also new units tend to get very heavy initial usage and extra checks are recommended.

Weekly: A more detailed inspection to check security of all items

Annual: An Independent Annual Inspection checking for all safety issues. These are sometimes referred to as Safety Audits providing advice on management procedures during the inspection. (For areas subjected to heavy use more than one inspection of this type may be necessary.) Where inspections indicate the need for maintenance the work identified should be carried out as soon as possible. All work identified as being necessary and details of remedial action (including dates) should be fully documented. In addition aprogram for safety testing procedures for the following should be implemented:

  1. All fixed and portable electrical equipment and installations
  2. All gas equipment (included any bottled gas)
  3. All lifting equipment
  4. All fire fighting equipment and fire and smoke detection equipment

PPA Locator


Play Providers Association, Rural Innovation Centre, Stoneleigh Park, Kenilworth, Warwickshire, CV8 2LG
Tel +44 (0)24 7641 4999 ::