Warm weather triggers an influx of children to your playgrounds. Extra care must be taken to carefully inspect and repair all playground equipment, including sports fields that may have been damaged over the winter. Not all accidents are preventable. However, the important thing is to keep your playgrounds and equipment in good condition and as safe as possible, remembering to always document all inspection and repair work.

Statistics Canada reports that 65% of playground injuries result from children falling off playground equipment. These injuries are often quite serious because the surface material under the play structure was too hard or packed down to cushion the falls. The report also states that most deaths in playgrounds result from strangulation, from drawstrings or scarves caught in cracks in slides or heads caught in inadequately spaced openings in guardrails or stairs.

Focusing on these key areas could prevent injuries and reduce the severity of injuries that still occur:

  • Replace hard packed surfacing with loose packed pea-gravel.
  • Check for catch point and head entanglement areas.
  • Check and repair loose guardrails, cracked or broken components etc.

Three elements key to preventing playground accidents and avoiding negligence:

  1. Regular Inspections 
    Weekly (If not daily) visual checks for broken/loose equipment, hazardous debris, adequate surface material etc., Monthly inspection of all equipment and Annual comprehensive inspection of the entire play area.
  2. Reasonable Maintenance 
    Prompt repair of all items that could result in an accident or injury and removal of failing equipment from use until repaired.
  3. Documentation 
    Keep records of all inspections and repair work. This is vital to proving reasonable care and is the best defense against claims of negligence.

By performing regular inspections and ensuring that playground areas/equipment are maintained to a high standard you can help to create a safe environment for children to play while reducing your liability risks. For more information on playground safety or how you can reduce your liability risk, contact one of our risk management professionals.

The information provided in this blog is intended to be general in nature and should not be taken as advice or as a recommendation about insurance.

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