5 Tips for Installing and Maintaining Play Equipment Safely
By their very nature, playgrounds are a place where there is a risk because they take us away from standing still, or walking at ground level. There are over 40,000 injuries to children caused by playgrounds annually that result in a hospital visit, as well as 5,300 injuries to adults, including many to people over 30, and even some to people over the age of 90!
The good news is that with the appropriate installation and maintenance of playground equipment, risks to anybody (with a particular focus on the children they are designed for) using a playground can be greatly reduced, especially by following these 5 tips for installing and maintaining play equipment safely:
Choose A Great Playground Equipment Company
One of the best things you can do when you are installing play equipment is to choose a great play equipment company for the planning and installation. They can try and work with the surface you already have, or lay a new surface that is up to a high spec.
There are also options like playground markings, vivid grass, or wet pour that can further enhance the ground of the playground safely. Additionally, with their help, any chosen equipment will be safely placed, particularly items that need to be embedded into the ground so that they remain secure throughout their use.
With the help of a trustworthy, experienced playground equipment company you can know that the equipment you choose is installed and placed with the highest standards of safety in mind.
Secure Funding For The Best, Not The Cheapest
Funding a playground is notoriously difficult. Schools don’t have a lot of money to be able to have the perfect playground, so external funding often needs to be applied for, such as grants from charities and organizations. You can source funding advice from the experts, but it might be tempting – because you are needing to apply for grants to source the money for the playground – to choose the cheapest options.
The cheaper the equipment and installation, the easier it is to fundraise the money and get it in place, right? Unfortunately, this is a false economy because the equipment is likely to be of a lower quality, and may need more maintenance to keep it safe. It is also unlikely to last as long as something that is designed to a higher specification.
Additionally, although the equipment is likely to be safe, the fact is that when suppliers are cutting corners you can’t guarantee that every effort could have been made to ensure the equipment is not just meeting, but exceeding safety standards.
When you pay for great value equipment that is well-priced and supplied by experts in the industry, you know you’re getting durable, long-lasting, safe equipment that meets all the latest playground guidelines and standards. This will be supported by the fact there will be details of an initial inspection provided, further proving the high standards of the equipment and installation.
A trusted supplier is also likely to provide detailed instructions on maintenance based on manufacturers’ advice and their own experience of supplying, installing, and maintaining the highest quality equipment, promoting best care practices and actions that enhance the likelihood of high long-term safety standards.
The fact you have sourced trusted, well-built equipment that is as safe as possible may also contribute to a supportive piece of information to add to your grant applications, which could help you to be more likely in securing funding.
Have In-House Daily Inspections
There should be in-house daily inspections of the equipment to ensure that it is in great condition. Staff should be trained to do this, and there should be a procedure in place to ensure that the inspection is always carried out and that there are set procedures in place should there be an immediate need for repair, or similar action, to ensure the kids who use the playground remain safe.
There should also be a procedure in place to make sure that if a person who usually completes the inspections is not attending, another person who is trained in completing an inspection takes their place.
Lastly, a paper trail should be in place to ensure that the inspections are recorded – something that is incredibly important for compliance. A professional playground equipment company can offer you advice on what should be included in the inspection, but the following points are a good suggestion of the kind of checks to include:
- Are there any spillages across the playground that could cause slips and falls?
- Has any vandalism occurred on the playground that has changed the safety levels of the equipment?
- Are there any visual issues with playground equipment that need further investigation?
- Are there any issues with the equipment when it is pressed and moved as designed?
- Are there aesthetic issues with the equipment that needs attention?
- Are there any toxic or dangerous items on the playground or equipment like chemicals or broken glass?
- Are there any parts of the equipment missing?
A thorough examination of the equipment should then be followed by any appropriate actions being taken, such as cordoning off potentially dangerous areas or equipment, in-house cleanup of issues that can be dealt with in that way, and contact with the appropriate company to arrange repairs.
Have External, Independent Inspections
An external inspection should happen before a warranty runs out, but additionally, it should also take place annually by an independent inspector who is able to thoroughly check the equipment and carry out repairs on-site. They should also be able to arrange the appropriate repairs for equipment and parts when that work is not possible on the day. A professional inspection should also be followed with a full report for compliance purposes.
Repair & Replace
It is so important to repair and replace playground equipment in accordance with the latest health and safety laws. This includes quick action as and when issues are found, and when repairs are advised. The longer you leave problems to get worse, the more likely safety levels are to decrease, and the issues identified can get much worse very quickly because of the nature of the equipment and the way it is used.
To maintain standards it is important that you complete repairs quickly, follow all maintenance advice, and always stay on top of the playground standards as a whole. By doing this, you will ensure the very best playground environment and experience for the little learners in your care day to day.
Speak To A Professional Playground Equipment Company Today For More Advice
For detailed advice on the safety, installation, and maintenance of all aspects of a playground, get in touch with Sovereign Play today. They can help you to design, install and maintain the highest standard of playground for the children in your care. With superior safety standards across the board, you can remain compliant, ensuring your little learners can play safely every single day.