How to Maintain a Multi-Family Playground

Increase Safety and Reduce Liability: How to Maintain your Multi-Family Playground 

Providing a playground at your apartment complex or other multi-family community can make your community very appealing to families with children. However, once you have the playground, you now have the responsibility to maintain the playground to keep the people in your community safe. If you fail to maintain the playground properly, you might be liable for injuries caused by that failure. No one wants a situation where there’s an unsafe playground, a tenant gets injured, and then the tenant sues the property owner and property management company. Below, we’ll discuss actions that you can take to help ensure that your playground is well-maintained, so you can have peace of mind knowing that your children are safe, and your risk of liability is minimized. 

Form a Playground Maintenance Program 

According to the CDC, over 200,000 children get injured each year on playgrounds. In a study conducted by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), from 2009 to 2014, 80% of playground injuries were due to equipment-related or fall hazards. Many of the equipment-related hazards were due to broken or otherwise-faulty equipment. One of easiest ways to minimize your potential liability for playground injuries is to simply maintain the play equipment and play area on a regular basis. A recommended comprehensive maintenance program includes both weekly inspections performed by a facilities maintenance worker and an annual inspection performed by a Commercial Playground Safety Inspector (CPSI). 

Weekly Inspections

The following questions can help facilities personnel evaluate the condition of a playground when conducting a weekly inspection. Although this list is not a substitute for a CPSI inspection, it can function as a key first step to develop a robust playground maintenance program. Any “yes” answers to the questions below should be addressed immediately. 

Equipment

  • Are there any pieces of broken equipment?
  • Are there any sharp edges that could cut a child’s skin?
  • Are there any ropes or cables that are frayed or otherwise not in good condition?
  • Is there rust or peeling paint?
  • Has water pooled on any area of the equipment?
  • Has anyone modified the equipment in a way that is inconsistent with manufacturer recommendations?
  • Are there any protrusions that a child’s clothes could be caught on?
  • Is any of the equipment unstable or are there loose footers?
  •  Is there any damaged or missing hardware? 

Safety Surfacing

  • If using loose-fill surfacing like mulch or sand, is there enough compacted material to comply with ASTM guidelines?
  • Are there any tripping hazards?
  • Is the surfacing un-level?
  • Is the safety surfacing debris-free?

General Area

  • Are there any foreign objects like trash or debris that shouldn’t be present?
  • Is water pooling in any area?
  • Are there any power hazards that are accessible like power lines, electrical boxes or heating and air units? 

Annual Inspection by a Commercial Playground Safety Inspector (CPSI). 

Depending on how often children use the play equipment, we recommend getting your playground inspected at least once per year by a Commercial Playground Safety Inspector (CPSI). A CPSI is someone who has attended a comprehensive playground safety course taught by the National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA) and who has subsequently passed a difficult playground safety exam. A CPSI should have up-to-date training on all playground safety issues and who can conduct a thorough inspection to identify current issues and prevent future issues. To find a CPSI in your area, you can look at the CPSI registry at this link… https://www.nrpa.org/certification/CPSI/cpsi-online-registry/.

A CPSI inspection will typically cost between $300 and $1000 depending on the size of your playground and amount of play equipment. For any additional playground maintenance questions, please reach out to one of our CPSIs at EcoPlay Structures at 770-714-8545 or via our website – www.ecoplaystructures.com

Share the Post: