Whether you are a playground owner by default, or you inherited a play structure as part of your job, or you are a full-time parks and playground professional, this article is for you.
There are two ways to approach playground maintenance: The do-it-yourself method or you can hire LuckyDog Recreation to do the heavy-lifting for you. LuckyDog is an experienced and trusted playground contractor with Certified Playground Safety Inspectors (CPSI). LuckyDog offers an annual or bi-annual program we call LuckyDog’s Signature Inspection Service.
The 4 Top Reasons For Playground Inspections
Whether you do it yourself or hire professional playground inspections here are 4 reasons you want to implement an inspection and maintenance program:
- Extends the life of your playground
- Keeps children safe
- Shows you are exercising due diligence
- Shows you have a risk management tool in place
Let’s elaborate on each of the above:
- Extends the life of your playground. When playground equipment is installed correctly, it should last well past the warranty dates on any of the components. Many municipalities set a pre-budget date for replacement so playground equipment can be replaced every 15 years. However, I know of many playgrounds living beyond 20 years that are still in great shape because they were installed correctly, and they are being inspected and maintained regularly. Of course, the “brand” of equipment is another factor in the mix; you get what you pay for. So, for the purposes of this article, let’s assume you purchased your equipment from a reputable playground contractor that represents top-tier equipment.
- Keeps children safe. Everyone’s a parent, grandparent, uncle or aunt. So it goes without saying we all have a vested interest in keeping children safe. Unlike safety restraints in a car which are regulated by law, do not playgrounds rely on a softer moral code? If it’s for the kids, make it as safe as it can possibly be while still being fun. Based on that presupposition, as a playground owner, you are morally obligated to care enough to do regular inspections on your equipment; whether you do it yourself, have a CPSI on staff, or hire LuckyDog Recreation is up to you and items 3 and 4 might help to settle the issue of WHOM you should hire to do the work.
- Shows you are exercising due diligence. This indicated that reasonable steps were taken by the owners of the playground to prevent an incident that could potentially send a child to the emergency room, or worse, a fatality. Should a child be injured on “your” playground, you could be found negligent if you cannot show records of your equipment having been maintained by a qualified inspector. In the playground world, qualified inspector means a CPSI. So not only do you need to do the inspections, or hire them done, record-keeping is also essential.
- Shows you have a risk management instrument in place. I know a city of Utah that sends one of their CPSIs to the certified training yearly. Never mind that re-certification is only required every three years. This city is dedicated to the safety of the children and tasks the maintaining of their playgrounds to the most qualified person on staff, a highly trained CPSI. The result? Better maintained playground of course and safer children of course. However, there is another not so obvious benefit for the city “paying” hundreds of dollars each year for this extra training. Should this city ever be in a litigation case, they can show without questionable doubt they have an ironclad risk management tool in place.
Now, are we suggesting you run out and become a CPSI? Or that you get your staff certified? Well, it depends on your budget, how many playgrounds you own, and other factors. However, we are suggesting that by calling LuckyDog Recreation about our Signature Service Inspections you can get service you can count on. And by the way, we do offer inspections on brands other than those we sell.*
*When you own a LuckyDog playground, we offer a 1 Year Signature Service Inspection for free with every play structure installed; just another way we show we care.
In Pursuit of Play,
Curtis Stoddard, CSPI, Construction Manager