Playground Guide Part 9
Some larger projects may take a few days to install. You should provide site security to protect your new playground investment from vandalism or robbery. For installations that make use of concrete footings or pathways, also hire security to prevent people from using the playground for 72 hours to allow for the concrete to cure. If security is not an optional, large modular metal construction fencing will work in most cases. Snow fencing and security tape offer little protection against vandalism, misuse, or trespassing while the playground is unattended at night. Besides, your playground is not safe during the installation phase, and you will want to keep children off the playground until it is finished and safe to play on.
If no secure metal fencing is available, use caution tape, snow fencing, temporary orange fencing, and signage. Something is better than nothing to keep kids away from and off the playground equipment and site.
Everyone knows the saying, “fail to plan, plan to fail.” This saying aptly fits playground maintenance. Before your playground is even in the ground, you should have a maintenance plan in place. The NRPA (National Recreation and Park Association) estimates that playground preventative maintenance programs can help avoid 30·40% of playground accidents. They state that approximately 60% of playground litigation cites “poor maintenance” or “lack of maintenance” as the leading cause of injury. Having a well-structured and routine maintenance program is essential to prevent injuries and protect your playground investment. Identifying potential issues and implementing corrective actions through a proper maintenance program will help protect children and prevent possible lawsuits.
Always follow the manufacturer’s maintenance recommendations and procedures, no matter whom you purchase the playground. Develop a written maintenance plan and keep a record of all inspections, daily, weekly, monthly, and, in cases where required, annually. You should also record all equipment repairs and repairs or top-ups to the resilient surfacing. In case of a lawsuit, warranty claim, or an accident maintaining proper maintenance documents can prove that you have been diligent. You should have a written accident procedure. Document all accidents and investigate causes, to help prevent further accidents. Designate someone to oversee maintaining, inspecting, and repairing small issues such as loose hardware and removing graffiti. Post an owner/operator sign with contact information in the playspace so that people can call and inform you of any problems with the playground.
You will also need to budget time and money for your resilient playground safety surface. You will need to develop maintenance appropriate to the type of safety surfacing you have chosen.
Vandalism or Damage/Worn Play Equipment
Sometimes despite your best efforts, playgrounds are vandalized or broken. The most dangerous issues should get first attention. For example, remove a burnt slide and close off the entrance area before removing graffiti. A good rule of thumb for resource allocation is that if there is a potential for life-threatening or debilitating injury, it takes top priority. Deal with the broken or vandalize part directly, if possible. Close the playground if you cannot repair immediately, but remember, orange safety fencing or snow fencing often does not deter. Signage is excellent for those who can read, but children who cannot read a sign will not stop them playing on the broken or vandalized playground. Better to apply more permanent techniques such as component removal, substantial barriers, or fencing for closing off damaged play features.
Contact the relevant manufacturer immediately to rectify the situation. Suppose you are unsure of any safety issues. In that case, you can get a certified playground inspector to conduct a playground safety audit.
Henderson Recreation provides you with a detailed maintenance checklist in PDF format. It’s on the USB stick or CD in your maintenance kit. We have customized the maintenance kit just for you. It includes installation instructions, preinstallation package, playground maintenance checklist, 3D renderings, plan view/scaled drawings, spare hardware kit, warranty, and copies of our current catalogs. Sometimes, it is easy to identify the product from a rendering.
You have put in much hard work, why not end it all with a grand opening. Seeing all the smiling children will warm your heart as they excitedly play on their new playground. The best part about this is that kids will be exercising themselves through play to healthier kids. And it is an excellent opportunity to build a sense of community.
A family run playground company since 1971.
PO Box 68, 11 Gilbertson Drive,
Simcoe, ON, CAN, N3Y 4K8
T: (519) 426-9380
F: (519) 426-1132