Keep Your Outdoor Playground in Tip-top Shape Year-round
Winter is the time each year that children naturally play more inside. This is the perfect time for you to perform regular playground maintenance and conduct inspections on your commercial playground equipment and playground workout equipment.
To help you keep your playground in perfect working order, we have compiled this short and easy list to keep your playground safe for children year-round. In addition, don’t forget to regularly inspect your playground equipment throughout the year to ensure it’s functioning correctly.
Check for required signs and safety labels
Check for crush and shear hazards
Check for entanglement and protrusion hazards
Check finishing and material conditions
Check that all hardware is present and fully engaged
1. Check for required signs and safety hazards
Easy to overlook and oh so easy to correct. ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) requires the name of the manufacturer or designer (yours truly) to be visible on the installed playground equipment. This is usually placed on plastic components or molded into steel playground components.
Signs and labels are also required. All outdoor playground equipment is designed to be age-appropriate in one of three major age categories: 6-23 months, 2-5 years old, 5-12 years old. All playgrounds must have an age range label placed on the equipment or be posted on a sign nearby. For our customers, we are happy to offer both options.
Required signs and labels for playground equipment
- Manufacturer or designer of the playground
- Age range of the playground equipment
- Required warnings to wear helmets, remove loose clothing, etc.
- Hot surface warning – this is especially important for hot Texas summers
- Adult supervision recommended
2. Check for crush and shear hazards
Crush and shear hazards may be present on any mobile equipment such as horse spring riders and other things that encourage independent play. In order to check for crush and shear hazards on playground equipment, we recommend placing a 5/8 inch diameter dowel in the opening. If the subject component could close down on the dowel in the opening, then you have a crush or shear hazard on your playground. This is a very important thing to check for in your playground maintenance plan!
3. Check for entanglement and protrusion hazards
Entanglement and protrusion hazards are usually caused by normal wear and tear or incorrect installation of hardware where loose nuts and bolts or components protrude out from the playground equipment. This can result in loose articles of clothing wrapping around (entangling) the object and/or causing harm by puncturing the skin or other safety risks.
To help you check for such hazards on your playground equipment, we offer inspection tool kits with tools designed to check for entanglement and protrusion hazards. Contact us to purchase an inspection toolkit or request one of our Certified Playground Safety Inspectors come out and perform a safety inspection.
4. Check finishing and material conditions
The main things you are looking for here are for metals to be rusting, paint to be chipping or fading, and plastic to be defaced. If you see that rusting is present or paint is chipping, we recommend cleaning the surface thoroughly and repainting. Contact us to acquire matching paint for your playground. Store-bought paint will not provide sufficient coverage for your playground equipment. If you see that your playground equipment has been defaced in any way or mold is present, clean the surface thoroughly to remove any threats of future defacing and mold and mildew growth, which are health hazards.
Other finishing and material conditions to inspect
- Ensure that all wood and recycled wood surfaces are free from splinters and are painted or stained to prevent cracks and warping
- Missing or damaged parts
- Make sure plastic components such as climbers and slides aren’t cracked or have holes in them
- Welded equipment is not rusted or broken
- PVC coated equipment including bridges, stairs, and landings are not peeling
5. Inspect all hardware on your playground
We utilize lock-tite fasteners in our playground equipment, but several years of use and normal wear and tear can cause even the best and tightest nuts and bolts to loosen. Inspect your playground’s hardware by manually ensuring every piece of hardware is fastened tight and fully engaged for the safety of all children playing on the playground equipment.
Don’t stop here!
We have an extensive outdoor playground maintenance guidebook. Inside you will find all the information in this blog and much, much more. The guidebook was written by two industry-leading Certified Playground Safety Inspectors from Site Masters, Inc.
The Best in Texas
Partner with the best playground designers in Texas to ensure your outdoor playground equipment is safe for all children to play on. Contact us with any questions about playground maintenance and repair.
If you enjoyed this article, please give us a follow on Facebook and subscribe to our email list! If we can help you update or inspect your outdoor recreational equipment such as playgrounds, shade, pavilions, or more, contact us today or call 866.461.2814 for your complimentary quote or inspection. We look forward to working with you!