Safer play areas for the children of PE

by Ofentse Sefolo
Safer play areas for the children of PE

According to the Children’s Safety Network, falls account for more than 75% of all playground-related injuries. Fortunately for the children in rural communities surrounding Port Elizabeth, this safety concern is being addressed.

Since July 2019, Hein de Villiers, from SoftFall Africa in Port Elizabeth and his team have been installing the PUR playground surfacing solution at public parks and beneath jungle gyms. “All the park venues are being fitted with brand new play equipment. We constructed all the base installations for the new jungle gyms, installing the PUR rubber surfacing thereafter. To our knowledge, this is the first installation of PUR of this size countrywide.”

To create this PUR, the rubber crumb infill – supplied by the Mathe Group, a sister company of Van Dyck Floors – is incorporated in a wet mix, creating a soft, absorbent surface. The use of local recycled rubber from waste tyres makes this an environmentally responsible application and the porous nature of the PUR means it will not harbour insects or mould. The product is available in various colours making for a vibrant finish.

Sithandile Sipili from the Parks Department at Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality explains the need for the installation: “In 2010, a safety audit on playgrounds was undertaken to check the compliance of playgrounds with the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) on Playground Safety. A decision was taken to install only safety-compliant equipment to prevent possible injury to the users.”

The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality requested the PUR rubber surfacing because of the safety benefits and hardwearing nature of the rubber surface. SoftFall meets stringent European Union standards which have been adopted by the South African Bureau of Standards.

Commenting on the community response, Sipili said: “It’s been great! The city has been flooded with requests from several communities who have seen the facilities and are requesting the same. There is a lot of talk about the benefits of the equipment.”

Hein de Villiers, who did this stunning installation, is also our Easigrass installation partner for Port Elizabeth. Easigrass offers a wide range of artificial grass surfaces for landscape & sport applications and children’s play areas, and is ideal to use in combination with the PUR rubber surfacing.

For more information, contact Van Dyck Floors on +27 (31) 913 3800 or via www.vandyckfloors.co.za.

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