Sudden Impact – Playground Surface Impact Testing


Sudden Impact* Surface Impact Testing

PlayRight Australia with over 26 years of experience in various aspects of the industry on a National level is uniquely qualified to provide expert assistance and guidance to clients in a wide range of playground compliance  assessments, safety inspections and testing of all surfaces including; athletic, recreational, play and playground surfaces.

* Sudden Impact – Surface Impact Testing is a subsidiary business of PlayRight Australia.  

The Triax2010 and Triax2015

The Triax2010 surface impact test instrument has been through many years of rigorous engineering developments and has been used throughout the world to provide assurance to users of surfaces for protection from injuries.

The Triax2010 and 2015 is the only highly sophisticated portable free-fall playground surface testing system in the world. It meets the relevant International standards to determine performance of surfaces in the prevention of life-threatening and debilitating head injuries.

The test surface of impact absorbing materials are struck by an instrumented headform in a defined series of impacts from different fall heights.  The signal recorded by an acceleronmeter inside the headform during each impact is processed to yield a level of severity from the measured impact energy.  The head injury criteria (HIC), and G-max values of each impact, are plotted and the critical fall height calculated.

The Severity of Injury— G-max and HIC

Medical studies have determined that a life-threatening head injury is not likely if the G-max (maximum deceleration experienced during an initial impact) value does not exceed 200 and the HIC (Head Impact Criteria—impact severity on the brain) value does not exceed 1000.  For this reason, the maximum limit for impact absorption values in standards have been set to these numbers.  This does not mean that injuries will not occur at lower values.

Every effort should be made by playground providers to ensure that the surfacing under and around playgrounds never exceeds the maximum G-max and HIC values of 200 and 1000 from the height which a user is expected to impact the surface.  Applying due diligence, the owner/operator must determine the values that are acceptable with on-site testing for compliance.

Training and Qualifications

“Sudden Impact” inspectors are qualified, approved and certified for the operation of the test instrumentation-Triax2010 & 2015. Professionally trained and assessed by the Certified International Triax2000 & 2015 trainer, Rolf Huber (Canada), our inspectors ensure our clients are provided with experienced professional operators, accurate test results, recording and reporting. 

Sudden Impact Services

A critical element of playground surface compliance is the testing of the surface once it has been installed and during its use/lifetime. At each Inspection the Triaxial head is calibrated to ensure that the system records accurate measurements at each and every inspection.

Sudden Impact provides the following testing services to  clients, on:

  • Loose Fill including sand, pine bark, pea gravel, shredded rubber etc.
  • Synthetic or real grass.
  • Rubber Surfaces, in situ, mats, tiles etc.
  • Other recreational and sport surfaces.
  • A comprehensive report detailing;
  • Onsite drop-test results, compliance / non-compliance recording as per Standards, test and report requirements.
  • Manufacturers’ original certificate and warranty comparison (if any).
  • Condition rating (loose fill, compacted depths etc.)
  • Test positions, drop height (effective fall height) and images
  • Surfacing fall zones and recommendations
  • All aspects of playground surfacing consultation and advice, including specifications and minimum fall zones.

Key Benefits

  • Protect the user
  • Minimise and reduce the risk of injury
  • Compliance and best practise with standards, contract terms/specifications and completed due diligence
  • Manufacturers conformance and  warranty authentication
  • Qualified, approved and certified operators for the Triax  2000
  • Accurate test results, recording and reporting
  • Guidance and Recommendations

Frequency of Testing

Frequency should be discussed as testing is likely to present a different set of conditions for each playground and should be tested for worst case results.

Frequency recommended

  • Existing surfaces – Initial testing – Quarterly (seasonal) thereafter,
  • Frequency rationale based on initial testing for the following;
    • Loose fill – bi-annual
    • Solid / rubber – annual
    • Post installation test on every new / replenished surface.