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sportsequip's Fitness Trails and BSEN16630

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sportsequip's Fitness Trails and BSEN16630


The European Standard BSEN16630:2015 'Permanently Installed Outdoor Fitness Equipment - Safety Requirements and Test Methods' published in 2015 clarified safety issues and test methods for outdoor adult fitness equipment. Although principally produced in response to the proliferation of previously unregulated steel Outdoor Gym equipment, its scope means that it also now also governs sportsequip's Timber Fitness Trail ranges. Up until its publication in 2015 sportsequip used the playground equipment standards as the manufacturing benchmark instead.

BSEN16630 specifies general safety requirements for the manufacture, installation, inspection and maintenance of permanently installed, freely accessible outdoor fitness equipment. It does not cover electrically driven equipment, functional training facilities (typically with unrestrained weights) nor military style obstacle courses. Under the standard the Fitness Equipment is intended for use by adults and youths aged 14 and over with a minimum height of 1.4m.

It is important to note that Outdoor Fitness Equipment covered by this standard is not playground equipment for children (defined by the BSEN1176 standards) and should not be regarded as such. It is also not indoor stationary training equipment (that's the BSEN957 standards) or free access multi-sports equipment (the BSEN 15312 standards) even if it should meet the requirements of each of these other standards.

The majority of the BSEN16630 covers technical manufacturing details that sportsequip's equipment is all designed to comply with such as timber specifications, treatment requirements and finer design considerations such as head and finger traps. However there are sections for you as specifiers, providers, customers and users of Timber Fitness Trails to consider as well and we have summarised these below.

A full copy of BSEN16630 can be purchased on the British Standards Institute website.

Locating Fitness Trail Equipment

BSEN16630 is very clear that Outdoor Fitness Equipment is not play equipment and it should be positioned away from Children's Play Facilities.

Suitable locations will require judgements made as part of the providers initial risk v benefit assessment with separation from other facilities being provided by distance, landscaping, fencing, signage (always recommended) or a combination of all of these.

Fitness Trail Equipment that is sited away from playgrounds and along jogging tracks or pathways are considered to be good examples of fitness sites not likely to be used for play.

When considering locations it should be obvious to visitors and users that the Fitness Products are not intended to form any part of the play provision.


Illustrated Instructional Signs are a vital and integral part of BESEN16630 and sportsequip has embraced this by producing an entirely new and unique range of signs to comply with this very important element of the standard - Exersigns™.

The standard calls for a general 'information sign' to include the following minimum details:

  • It should state that the equipment is for adults and youths of 14 and over with a minimum height of 1.4m
  • It should state that users should read and follow the exercise instructions for each piece of equipment
  • The user must be assured about their own medical safety before use
  • The user must avoid over exertion when using the equipment
  • There should be a general emergency telephone number provided
  • There should be a telephone number and internet URL for maintenance personnel
  • It should detail the address of the facility

Each individual piece of equipment should have durable and clearly conspicuous signage or notices showing:

  • Exercise instructions with corresponding pictograms
  • Main functions of the equipment
  • Safety information, if necessary
  • Highest permissible user weight, if necessary
  • The name and address of the manufacturer, sales agent or distributor
  • Equipment marking and year of manufacture
  • Number and date of the European standard - BSEN16630

Unless all of this information is provided the facility cannot be claimed to fully comply with BSEN16630.

All of our Exersign™ Illustrated Instructional and Information signs allow spaces for a degree of customisation including the trail name, suppliers and funders names and logos and any additional information that may be required. We just ask for your artwork to be provided to us in a high resolution electronic format.


Under BSEN16630 'the area of movement for Fitness Equipment with a free height of more that 1.0 metres shall be equipped with an impact damping ground surface'. Movement Space is defined as the space around the Fitness Equipment necessary for safe use.

  • Concrete and macadam are considered to be acceptable surfaces under equipment with a fall height of up to 1.0 metre
  • Topsoil is considered acceptable up to 1.2 metres
  • and Lawn (well maintained grass) up to 1.5 metres

Loose fill materials such as sand, gravel and bark offer acceptable fall heights of between 2.0 - 3.0 metres but would require customised alterations to the standard post lengths of all our Fitness Trail equipment. If you are considering using a loose fill surface then please tell sportsequip at the earliest opportunity as all uprights would have to be specially adapted and extended.

As most timber Fitness Trail installations are into grass sportsequip recommend the use of our Complaint Grow Through Tiles in preference to any loose fill material. When correctly installed and maintained onto lawn / well maintained grass these tiles offer a Free Fall Height of up to 3 metres - high enough for every piece of equipment in our full Fitness Trail range.

We have found that many providers risk assessments call for something better than just grass or topsoil even beneath low level equipment that strictly speaking do not require an impact surfacing under the standard. Because of their overall value for money sportsequip therefore also recommend small areas of Compliant Grow Through Tiles under the most likely impact areas and also to act as grass reinforcing 'wear pads' on the areas of heaviest use. These wear pads are shown on every one of our individual exercise station layout drawings.

In addition dimension details of both our recommended wear pad areas along with any of the largest and tallest exercise stations requiring full movement space impact absorbing surfacing areas are detailed on our supporting technical data sheet.

Inspection and maintenance

BSEN16630 calls for providers and operators of Outdoor Fitness Equipment to ensure regular and thorough inspection and maintenance of the equipment.

It is normal for regular routine inspections of the equipment be undertaken by the client and the results recorded so that you have evidence this has been carried out with dates, findings, any problems or repairs carried out. This may be weekly, monthly, or as you feel appropriate for the site.

There is often an independent equipment inspection carried out annually, usually a requirement for any Public Liability insurance taken out. To facilitate this sportsequip has teamed up with level 2 RPII inspectors Apertus Play and Sport Inspections to offer independent Fitness Trail inspection services.

Fitness Trail maintenance notes can also be found on our website.

It is worth remembering that BSEN16630 applies to 'freely accessible' outdoor fitness equipment, so if your site is secure, supervised or not available for general public use then the standard does not necessarily apply to you. It is though undoubtedly good practice to comply wherever possible.

sportsequip gratefully acknowledges reproduction of elements and phrases from the both the BSI Standard Publication of BSEN16630:2015 and also the Association of Play Industries 'Outdoor Adult Fitness Equipment' document (PDF download) in the production of this data sheet.

November 2018