Recreation Management Rec Report - The Newsletter for Recreation, Sports & Fitness Facility Managers

Feature Story

December 2019

NSF International Adds New Standards for Interactive Water Play

By Chandler Garland

NSF International has just established new minimum criteria for safety flooring at interactive water play venues. A step toward making recreational splash parks and water venues safer, the new section of NSF/ANSI 50: Equipment and Chemicals for Swimming Pools, Spas, Hot Tubs and Other Recreational Water Facilities addresses six performance-based requirements:

  • Slip Resistance: must have a 40 British Pendulum number (BPN) and a P4 on the Australian Standard.
  • Chemical Resistance: must remain slip-resistant and impact attenuating after undergoing exposure to high chemical shock without showing signs of erosion.
  • Impact Attenuation: must be cushioned to absorb falls with a Head Injury Criterion value of 750.
  • UV Stability: must not show any erosion during testing under exposure to intense UV light.
  • Impermeability: A submerged sample must not absorb any water after 24 hours.
  • Cleanability: Must show significant reduction in bacteria after being sanitized.

The new standard arose from a request made in 2016 for the NSF/ANSI 50 Joint Committee to address safety surfacing for interactive water play venues. The joint committee is an impartial consensus-based standards development group comprised of a balanced number of representatives from regulatory, industry, academic and consumer groups. After three years of standards writing, method development and verification, the NSF/ANSI 50 Joint Committee validated and approved the new section, which was published in the 2019 version of the standard.

"NSF International has been committed to public safety for 75 years. The NSF/ANSI 50 Joint Committee considers the latest product and material test methods, such as safety flooring criteria, when updating standards to help protect the public. This update to the standard helps enable a safe and fun recreational water experience for kids of all ages," said Jessica Evans, director, standards development at NSF International.

Life Floor is the first to be fully-certified under the new section, meeting or exceeding all six requirements. The closed-cell, foam-rubber flooring tiles are naturally resistant to bacteria, engineered with high chemical and UV resistance, and has a 65 BPN.

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