If you are tasked with managing a children’s playground, you will be fully aware that there are a number of boxes that need ticking in order to ensure your playground is safe for its users.
According to The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) there are an estimated 40,000 playground injuries each year in the UK (which result in a visit to the hospital). Of these injuries, an estimated 80% were as a result of a fall to the playground surface.
However, as hard as you might try to make your playground accident free, you will always find that accidents happen anyway. It’s no surprise really, children have accidents everywhere, so playgrounds are no exception!
To try to reduce and prevent injuries in children’s playgrounds there are standards that have been set to ensure that all playgrounds meet a certain level of safety. The main standard for the playground surface is EN1177.
Playground managers might find that they are sued if they have failed to adhere to the basic standards required, or if they have overlooked obvious hazards which could have been foreseen.
When designing your playground you should seek a professional playground designer for advice and a suitable design. A professional playground designer will establish the age range of the children the playground is aimed at and provide a suitable design for this age group, accompanied by valuable advice back up with many years of experience.
Professional designs will reduce the risk of accidents which are associated with bad planning and poor layout.
Ensure that your playground is installed by a team of qualified professionals with the right type of experience. It should be built in accordance with the Standard EN1176, which is the Playground Equipment Standard.
The surfacing you choose for your playground is as important as the design and layout. The surface of your playground can help to absorb the impact of a fall and prevent or reduce injury. The Standard for playground surfaces is EN1177. Be sure to seek this Standard out when sourcing a suitable playground surface.
Inspections are key to ensuring your playground remains in a good, safe condition. It’s advised that a qualified third-party inspect the playground once it’s constructed, and then regular inspections should be carried out thereafter. A thorough annual inspection should also be carried out by a trained professional. This is vital to ensure that any deterioration or damage can quickly be put right before an accident has the chance to happen. Teaming your inspections with an effective maintenance team will ensure that faults are dealt with quickly.
Just because your playground is built, doesn’t mean that you can sit back and forget about it (aside from all the inspections and routine maintenance!). You should be thinking about the improvements and updates you could make, to make your playground better and safer. This could be anything from replacing the loose-fill surface when necessary to taking down a section of playframe to be replaced by something better. Updating your playground will not only keep it safe and fault-free, but it should also encourage parents to re-visit because there’s something new for their children to try out.
The steps above are just a few examples of how you might help to reduce your outdoor playground liability by keeping your playground safe. If you ensure that your playground is inspected regularly and you keep on top of any issues you should reduce your playground liability, not to mention making your playground a safe and happy environment for the children, whose happy parents will want to return time and time again!
At Eco Sustainable Solutions, we provide high-quality Playground Chip and Bark Nuggets, both of which are suitable for playground surfaces, and both meet the Standard EN1177. View our Playground Chip and Bark Nuggets.
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