New research by the Association of Play Industries Play Must Stay campaign has revealed that 35% of parents have experienced closure or neglect of their local playground. The provision of safe, accessible and stimulating community playgrounds is not a luxury and for so many children, they are essential to their current and future health. Therefore, the maintenance of existing play areas has become even more important to improving children’s movement levels and, in turn, their physical and mental health.
To make sure your outdoor playground equipment lasts as long as possible it is essential to develop a simple schedule for inspecting your playground equipment. “The routine maintenance of playground equipment and surfaces should consist of preventative measures to maintain their level of safety and performance” BS EN 1176 part 7.
Playground inspections form a very important link between you, the users and the safety of your play area. All inspection regimes are specific to the type of equipment, location, age and usage of the play area. Playground manufacturers who comply to BS EN 1176 will have a ‘checklist’ covering the basic elements of playground maintenance. If carried out routinely they will preserve and prolong the life of your playground equipment.
To ensure the longevity of your playground equipment we would recommend weekly visual inspections. Weekly checks are done to inspect the equipment for damage, wear, sharp edges or loosening of fixings. Inspections should not only be limited to the equipment but should include checking the surfacing/area around the playground units for any debris or sharp objects.
Depending on the use of the play area more in-depth operational inspections should also be undertaken. Particular attention should be paid to the effects of corrosion, wear, vandalism or other deterioration. These factors are determined by the location of the play area e.g. coastal environments and areas of high pollution. These inspections might vary from monthly to quarterly. We would recommend keeping a record of these inspections for future reference.
If any worn or damaged parts need replacing always refer to the manufacturer for replacements. Homemade parts would not be recommended as in some cases it will void any guarantees on the equipment. If you are unsure about replacement parts you can refer to installation guides.
If you require Playdale spare parts or are unsure about a replacement part, view our helpful a step by step video on how to request a quote.
The majority of playground insurance companies recommend an annual inspection being undertaken. Annual inspections should be carried out by an expert who is qualified to an Annual level by the RPII (Register of Play Inspectors International. To find out more information about what you get when you book an annual inspection please click here.
Playdale offers a training and consultation package with an RPII Inspector to give you tips and advice on how to conduct inspections. They will then spend 1 – 2 hours showing you exactly what you need to do, so if you’re not too sure how to look after your play area then this is perfect to give you some helpful advice.
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