“Signs of the Times” the signs you need for your external play area and Licensed Area


Guest Article by John Gaunt and Partners Solicitors - The Occupiers Liability Act 1957 and 1984 impose an obligation to ensure that play areas have correct and adequate signage. The main purpose is providing information to users for the purposes of reporting accidents and damage.

“Signs of the Times” the signs you need for your external play area and Licensed Area

Signage Contents Play Area signage should include:


  • Name of operator of the site
  • Contact details to report damage or accidents. Where the authority in charge of the area has a permanent office this should include the telephone number.
  • Location of nearest public telephone for contacting emergency services (Not essential)
  • Pictogram "No Dog" signs are also strongly recommended
  • Where there are overhead electric cables nearby "No Kite Flying" signs are recommended
  • Where play area is near a road the use of Road Signs to warn motorists of the presence of a playground should be considered (contact your local Highways Authority for provision of these).
  • Any notices regarding age of users should be carefully worded so that it does not imply that the area is safe for all users of that age. For instance a 12 year old may have the mental and physical capabilities of a three year old. Something that implies that the area is safe for all children over the age, say, of 7, would imply that it was also safe for this child and could result in litigation in the event of an accident. A bald statement such as "This area is to be used by children Under 8 only" is to be preferred.


Licence Premises:

Licensed premises also have signage requirements for external areas, some may also be expressed in conditions on your Premises licence.

  • Check your premise licence conditions, you may have particular signs you are required to display in your external areas.
  • This may include signs informing your customers regarding quietly exciting the premises and respecting the local area.