First nationwide educational courses for ‘qualified playground testers’

Fourteen men and women passed the first DIN SPEC 79161 test at the Duela education centre in Warendorf.

First nationwide educational courses for ‘qualified playground testers’

This standard is only a couple of weeks old with the first “qualified playground testers” as pre DIN SPEC 79161 having been trained. Fourteen former course graduates of Duela Westfalen-Lippe attended an exam preparation seminar in Warendorf.

The seminar is aimed at individuals who are steeped in the world of playground safety. As instructor Friedrich Blume assures: Complete vocational training and at least two years of playground equipment related work are a pre-requisite for participation in the seminar. The participants must therefore have installed equipment, performed operational inspections, maintained and operated equipment. But even that isn’t enough; the successful completion of the Deula seminars Playground Control I and II (Introductory and Development seminars) or Playground Control IV (Compact seminar) or of equivalent seminars was a condition. Only then could the challenging, three part exam be passed.

The content of the teaching is very similar to what has been taught in the seminars at the Duela centre since 2004. This is no coincidence as Friedrich Blume is not just an instructor at the Deula Centre; he has also been active in the working committee that, since 2008, has worked towards nationwide criteria for the education and the qualification of playground testers. This committee is made up of representatives of the testing and training institutes, the playground equipment manufacturers, the Consumer Council, as well as employees in the public realm. It is from this committee that the content stems which has been taught at the Deula Centre for 7 years and is recognised as the last resort. This is a validation of the long-standing work of Friedrich Blume, who inspects children’s playgrounds’ safety as an expert not only in Germany but also in German-speaking areas abroad. The standard for ‘qualified playground testers’ has been in place since November, but the committee’s work isn’t finished yet. “This is a constant process where we’ll never stop learning. We will continue to work on this and pass on our knowledge to those learning the role,” said Friedrich Blume, who is also currently engaged in a working committee on the safety of playground equipment at a national level.

The 13 men and one woman who passed the first nationwide exam as per the new DIN have been what Blume calls ‘repeat offenders’ for years now. This only made the first two parts of the exam a little easier at most, however. The first part had to be completed without referring to notes or literature on the subject, while the second part allowed for the use of notes or standards texts. The practical exam is new, however, requiring the correct utilisation of the so-called test bodies. These test bodies and a special partition can be used to simulate whether or not children’s body parts or clothing could end up caught in any cracks, openings or edges of playground equipment. This practical exam also allows its participants to prove that they can precisely locate any potential danger areas in a children’s playground. They would certainly have been in a position to do this already after completing the courses held at the Deula Centre in Warendorf up until now. But in future when the testing of playgrounds according to the new DIN SPEC 79161 is a requirement, then these are the individuals who will be allowed to test. They are the first and - up until now - only authorised and qualified playground testers. Made in Warendorf.

 

Photo (from left):
Karsten Mensing (Deula Westfalen-Lippe, Director)
Friedrich Blume (Deula, Instructor and playgrounds expert)
Andreas Wiesner (Haus-Service-GmbH Bielefeld)
Stefan Soethe (Renatec GmbH Düsseldorf)
Horst-Dieter Koll
Wilfried Prinzen
Sabine Fischer (Argos Control GmbH Berlin)
Dirk Walter (Haus-Service-GmbH Bielefeld)
Christoph Zähringer (Ing.-Büro Stadt+Natur Kassel)
Orest Becker (GUVV Hannover)
Josef Echelmeyer (GaLa-Bau Echelmeyer Hörstel)
Frank Diekmann (Town of Löningen)
Reinhold Kleinknecht-Theiß (Town of Buxtehude)
Uwe Hüttemann (Town of Herford)
Ingo Wien (Town of Wermelskirchen)
Andreas Schneider (Schneider Gartenwerk Lemgo)
 

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