PLAYGROUND EQUIPMENT & MAINTENANCE

Do you have a common area playground on your property?  As the HOA or Building Owner you have an obligation to those living in your community/property to ensure that the equipment and grounds are routinely maintained and evaluated for safety.  While it should go without saying, the equipment should be regularly inspected ensuring bolts, rivets, bars, slides etc. are rust free, tight and secure.

One of the most commonly overlooked items when it comes to playground maintenance/safety is the grounds for which the equipment sits on.  According to a study provided by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, 200,000 kids under the age of 14 are treated annually for injuries sustained while on a playground.  Of these injuries 70% of them are due to surface related falls.

What can you as the HOA or Building Owner do to help avoid these types of accidents at your property?  Proper thickness of the surface area could be the difference between a bruise and broken bone.  Fine Sand and pea gravel should be installed at a minimum depth of 5 – 6 inches where wood chips should be installed at a minimum depth of 10 inches.  All surface materials are evaluated based upon a “fall height”.  The fall height is the deciding factor for the depth at which the materials need to be installed.  If the platform of the equipment is 6 feet tall (fall height) the depth of the wood chips may be 10 inches, but if the platform is 8 feet tall the depth would be 12 inches.  It is up to you and your playground installer to ensure proper depth at the time of installation.

It is very important to ensure your system meets or exceeds the requirements as outlined in your manufacturer’s specifications.  Many states are adopting national codes/laws to help ensure safety on playgrounds and we strongly suggest you do as well.