Outdoor exercise and parkour areas

Outdoor exercise and parkour areas mean exercise and parkour equipment installed outdoors for public use. Hereinafter, these are also referred to as “outdoor exercise areas”.

Good safety practices

  1. Consider safety when planning the area (parking spaces, routes, lighting, areas affected by various activities, etc.). Technical report CEN/TR 16879:2016 provides instructions for the siting and separation of playgrounds and other recreational areas.
  2. Assess the risks directed at users and other people.
  3. Place activities in separate areas, clearly separate from play areas, unless you know that they are certainly suitable and safe for children.  When equipment is in accordance with the EN 1176 standard, it can be placed in conjunction with playgrounds.
  4. Acquire equipment that is suitable for the intended user group and install it in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
  5. Provide users with sufficient instructions on how to use the equipment safely, how to report any defects and what to do in case of an emergency.
  6. Ensure that the area is maintained. Inspect and maintain the equipment regularly. Keep maintenance records.
  7. Keep a record of accidents and incidents. The information sign must include contact details for users to make contact.
  8. Report any serious accidents and safety defects discovered in the equipment to the Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency (Tukes) and the equipment supplier.
  9. Monitor safety in the area and improve it based on observations and user experiences.

Identify risks

Identify the risks directed at users and make sure that the exercise area is safe. All outdoor exercise areas must be safe for their users. You can use the tools prepared by Tukes to identify the risks.

Requirements for outdoor exercise and parkour equipment 

Equipment must be safe and suitable for the intended user group. If the equipment does not contain any electrical or pressure equipment, the Consumer Safety Act alone will apply to the equipment. In this case, it is not a product to be furnished with the CE marking, and it must not be CE marked.


Complying with standards in the design and procurement of equipment is one way to ensure that it fulfils the safety requirements prescribed by law. Outdoor exercise equipment is subject to the European EN 16630 standard. The EN 16899:2016 standard applies to parkour equipment.
When the equipment fulfils the requirements set out in the EN 1176 and EN 1177 standards on playgrounds, it can be placed in conjunction with play areas intended for children.

If the standards are not followed, it must be proven, if required, that a level of safety that matches the standards at minimum has been achieved by other means. The standards can be purchased from the Finnish Standards Associations (SFS).

Maintenance and upkeep

Ensure the safety of equipment throughout its service life. Monitor the condition, defects and wear and tear of the equipment through routine visual inspections. Regularly carry out more detailed inspections and the required maintenance and upkeep in accordance with the instructions of the equipment manufacturer. If there are no manufacturer’s instructions, estimate a sufficient frequency and level of detail for the inspections based on the special characteristics and hazards of the area. Maintain records of the inspections, maintenance and repairs carried out.

Providing information for users

Place an information sign in a central and highly visible place in the area. If the area is large or features activities that require separate information signs, several signs can be installed. Provide users with at least the following information:

  • The name of the area
  • The exact location, e.g. street address, for calling for help
  • Emergency number 112
  • Contact details of the party managing the area or the party responsible for maintenance
  • Instructions on how to report accidents, broken equipment or other safety defects
  • If required, information about the user groups for which various activities are intended

Provide user instructions for the equipment, other instructions and warnings in Finnish, and in Swedish if required. You can also use images and symbols.

Documents in order

A safety document must be prepared for most outdoor exercise areas. If an outdoor exercise area is part of a larger sports area, the area and activities should be covered as a whole in the safety document. Another option is to prepare a safety document for all municipal outdoor exercise locations. Consider the following when assessing risks in the safety document:

  • The size of the area
  • Location
  • Terrain and environmental conditions
  • The equipment available for use and the number of equipment
  • The purpose of the area, e.g. the activities provided in the area and in its surroundings
  • User groups, e.g. children, young people, adults or the elderly
  • The number of users.

For example, a safety document must be prepared for an outdoor exercise area which has many users and features various challenging equipment intended for physical exercise and strength training.

On the other hand, it may not be necessary to prepare a safety document for a senior park, in which simple equipment intended primarily for balancing is used. However, preparing a safety document is recommended, even if it is not a legal obligation.

Only a single safety document should be prepared for large areas, including sports areas. This safety document can later be supplemented with activity- or service-specific documents. The maintenance or management of larger exercise areas and their activities may be distributed between several municipal parties and may also involve external service providers. A table of responsibilities helps clarify the tasks and responsibilities of different parties.