Playground Safety Checklist
Children's playgrounds are a great thing to have and really appreciated by parents (not too many McDonalds restaurants don't have one!). But they are perhaps one of the most hazardous areas of your operation and sadly also one of the most neglected.
Injuries: Falls from equipment are the largest cause of serious injury in the playground. Other injuries include entrapment; collisions with equipment, needle stick injuries, cuts from broken glass, protrusions and other children;
Issues: We have seen hazards such as:
- Rusty protruding nails & screws
- Splintered timber
- Sharp metallic edges
- Needles & syringes
- Brittle and cracked plastic seats
- Red back spiders in cubby houses
- Broken glass
- Concrete play surfaces
- Bricks and rocks on the ground around equipment
- Swings too close to fences, walls and other equipment
- Hanging ropes and chains with noose like loops tied in them
- Potentially live wires hanging from damaged light fittings
A safe playground should have:
- Fencing similar to that required around swimming pools
- Equipment without protrusions and entrapment hazards
- Equipment that is appropriate for the age of the children using it
- An adequate soft fall surface for all equipment.
- Shade and seating for supervision by parents
- Rules displayed ie appropriate ages, no food or drink, no glass, no running etc
- Signage indicating that children should be under adult supervision at all times
- Be regularly inspected and maintained, especially the soft fall surface. Details records of these inspections should be kept.
Example of playground safety checklist
- Is the playground generally clean and well maintained?
- Can the playground be safely reached by pedestrians or those on bicycles?
- Are automobile parking areas physically separated from the playground?
- Is perimeter fencing provided?
- Are fencing and gate in good condition?
- Are informational signs concerning the use of the playground and the equipment provided?
- Are signs presented in both written and graphic formats?
- Is the playground surface provided with proper drainage to prevent water from forming puddles?
- Are restrooms clean and well maintained?
- Are the playground areas free from ut
ility boxes, drainage ditches, sewer covers, and other items that could cause tripping?
- Are trees free from cracked or loose limbs?
- Are pesticides/herbicides used on shrubs and trees?
- Are there any indications of damage caused by vandalism?
- Are areas where playground equipment is used separated from areas where running games are played?
- Is playground equipment suitably separated to prevent collisions?
- Are walkways located away from the equipment in active use.
- Are walkways free from loose surface materials, irregularities, and slippery substances that could cause slips?
- Is at least one primary entrance provided for persons in wheelchairs?
- Are sharp inclines and abrupt changes in levels avoided at entrances?
- Are walkways clearly defined?
- Are pathways at least 48 inches (1.22 m) wide?
- Are the slopes of the walkways less than 5%?
- Are pedestrian ramps limited to slopes less than 8% and equipped with handrails?
- Is the playground actively supervised?
- Is the supervisor trained to perform the required duties?
- Are records kept of playground and equipment repairs.
- Is the area under and around playground equipment equipped with shock absorbent material?
- Is all equipment when in use visibly stable ?
- Are metal equipment and hardware free of major corrosion?
- Are wooden structural components free of rot, major cracks, and splinters?
- Is equipment free of protrusions and projections that may entangle children's clothing?
- Is equipment free of pinch, crush, and shearing points that could injure children?
- Is equipment fabricated to eliminate areas that may entrap children's heads?
- Do adjacent structural elements form a vertex angle greater than 55 degrees?
- Are the bases of equipment free of tripping hazards?
- Are the areas above and around equipment free of suspended hazards?
- Are the ladders, stairways, and ramps built in accordance with the requirements listed in Table 2 of this report?
- Are slides equipped with platforms to facilitate access to the sitting position?
- Are the platforms equipped with guardrails or equivalent protective equipment?
- Is the average incline of the slides less than 30 degrees?
- Are the exit regions of the slides level?
- Are swing hardware and supporting chains in satisfactory condition?
- Are swings located away from other playground equipment and protected by barriers?
- Are the edges of seats smooth and free from obstructions?
- Are multiple-axis swings mounted on frames that do not contain single axis swings?
- Is the interior of the climbing equipment free of structural components upon which a child could fall?
- Are the tops of the equipment provided with an auxiliary means for reaching the ground?
- Are the rotating platforms essentially circular?
- Does the equipment contain handholds or equivalent devices?
- Are the rotating platforms free of sharp edges?
- Are the seesaws free of cracks, corrosion, and other obvious structural defects?
- Is the equipment provided with spring centering devices or cushioning material to prevent abrupt contact with the ground?
- Are the fulcrums of seesaws free of pinch or crush hazards?
- Are handholds provided at each seating position?
- Does the management of the playground have a security program?
- Is there access to a phone or radio to allow for communication in the event of an emergency?
Download Playground Safety Checklist