Playground Safety Inspection
At J.C Walker & Sons Corp., we provide certified playground equipment safety inspections to meet strict safety regulations. We are licensed in all playground safety inspections, and provide new playground equipment, playground maintenance, restoration, and resurfacing, if your playground doesn’t pass our inspection.
Why have your playground inspected?
Only 12 states require playground equipment inspections, meaning it’s easy to construct a playground and not think about having it inspected. However, it’s crucial to have your playground inspected because inspections help keep your playground up to quality standards. They keep the children who play on it safe from harm. If an accident or injury were to happen on your playground and you didn’t invest in a playground safety inspection, you are liable for any injuries that occur from your negligence in not making sure it is safe for play. When you don’t get your playground inspected, you could have a lawsuit on your hands. Inspections keep you safe from having to pay a lawsuit settlement, and ensure the safety of the children who play on your playground. With J.C. Walker & Sons Corp., our playground safety inspectors are experts who can identify hazards and other environmental conditions that an untrained person may not see.
What the inspection consists of.
A playground equipment safety inspection consists of your inspector examining the whole playground in detail. In addition, measurements and photos will be taken to compare your playground with the CPSC and ASTM standards.
Playground safety inspections consist of inspection reports, and inspection audit reports. Both involve a full examination of your playground from equipment, to surfacing, to borders. These conditions are compared to the prevailing standards and the results are then issued to you in a report.
Where is a playground inspection required?
When it comes to getting a playground equipment inspection done, many do it to keep their playground safe for the children who play on it. They avoid liability by showing an effort to maintain their playground area. In most states, playground owners, legally, do not have to get an inspection done. The 16 states that have adopted Consumer Product Safety Commission (C.P.S.C.) guidelines are:
- New Jersey
- North Carolina
- Rhode Island
J.C. Walker & Sons Corp. is certified by the National Recreation and Park Association to provide playground safety inspections according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s guidelines. Contact us to learn more about what we can do for you.
Playground Design & Build
When it comes to playground design and undertaking a new playground build project, there are a lot of factors to take into consideration. Between budget, design, age group, location, environment, and safety surfacing; understanding who you’re designing your playground for is incredibly important. Some of the more important considerations include:
Selecting The Appropriate Site:
When you decide to build a playground, you have to first choose where it will go. In determining where to build your playground, consider the following:
- Travel patterns to and from playground. This refers to considering hazards. Are there any potential hazards in the way of people being able to safely move to and from the playground?
- The distance of the playground from nearby potential hazards. Are their roads with traffic, drop offs, or cliffs nearby? Make sure that if this is the case, that there is a method in place of keeping the children from running away from the playground.
- Sun exposure on the playground. Is your playground going to get so hot from sun exposure that it will burn the children who play on it? Make sure that slides, platforms, steps, and railings are out of direct sunlight, as well as provide signage that playground equipment exposed to harsh sunlight can cause burns.
- Slope and drainage. Take precautions to make sure that loose materials will not wash away. Proper drainage, and playground surfacing will prevent washouts.
Making Sure Your Design Is Safe
A big reason why playgrounds are constructed in the first place is to provide children a place for exercise and fun. The challenge in designing playgrounds is providing a challenging and fun environment for the children; while, making sure it’s safe for them to play on. How many children do you anticipate playing on your playground? Does your initial design support that many children? If not, how are you going to design it differently? Do you have it in your budget to do so? These are all questions that should be considered when figuring out the safety of your playground.
Making Sure Your Playground is Age Appropriate
The differences in playground equipment needs are drastic between toddlers and preteens. It’s important when designing a playground, that you’re accommodating the ages of the kids that will be playing on it. In designing and building playgrounds, best practices suggest allocating a separate area for kids younger than four years old. Their play needs are so different from older kids’ that there’s a chance they could get hurt. Keeping your playgrounds age appropriate will also attract more people to your playground if they see that their kids have a space to safely play.
Is your playground accessible for children at all ability levels? In 2000, the ADA Accessibility Guidelines For Play Areas was issued. It was issued to ensure the development of playgrounds and play areas that are accessible to those with disabilities. In conforming to this standard, it’s important to consider how children of varying abilities can play on your playground.
How Long Does It Take?
Designing and building a playground varies in the amount of time it takes to construct. Depending on the complexity of the playground structure, they can vary anywhere from five to ten days, to six weeks. A minimum of two weeks of construction time is a safe estimate to accommodate inevitable bumps in the road. Make sure when you’re preparing to begin your next playground project, that you’ve accommodated for the proper amount of time.
What better way to bring a community together than a community build project? At J.C. Walker & Sons Corporation, we offer community builds to bring your community together and give them an investment in your project, as well as to save you up to 30 percent on costs of the playground.
Benefits Of Community Builds
- You get more playground for your money.
Instead of spending the money to hire builders to construct your playground, why not host a community build? Bring local residents together to build your playground with you. This saves you the cost of construction through the free labor of community volunteers.
- Your community provides the sweat.
Save the cost and sweat of hiring labor through enlisting community volunteers! You bring the materials, they bring the hard work. In no time, you have a playground built right before your very eyes. Similar to a barn-raising, volunteers work
- You save money.
Depending on where your budget stands, and how complicated your budget is, installation costs are generally 25-45 percent of your total costs. Reduce that cost by 30 percent with a community build.
- Strong relationships are built.
When people of different ages, backgrounds, and ability levels come together for a common goal, relationships are formed and strengthened. The community spirit brings people together and makes them forget their differences for a short time.
- Sense of community is strengthened.
When you invest in a community build, you’re more likely to see more people at your playground because there is community investment. Activities like this bring communities together, and bring out the best in your community-members. Through activities like community builds, fund raising and building political support for a new playground is easier, and the risk of vandalism and destruction of your new playground is lowered.
Tips for conducting a community build well:
When you begin the process of hosting a community build event, there are strategic methods to help you stay organized and keep the productivity flowing throughout the day.
- Find groups looking for work.
Community build projects are great for employees of corporate organizations, church groups, schools, and clubs for team-building activities. Before you put a public statement out there letting the local public know that you’re looking for volunteers, check local churches, schools, and corporations to see if they have groups with willing volunteers.
- Find enough people that you can schedule volunteers in time blocks.
If you have enough people, schedule them in two – three hour time chunks. That way, people don’t have enough time to get tired, and the build day is more productive.
- Create task groups.
Break the group up into smaller groups performing different tasks for increased productivity. Having designated task groups are a way to get more done in less time, while keeping volunteers excited and enthusiastic about their work.
- Appoint team leaders.
When you break up the group, make sure that each group has a leader who knows the objective of each task, and how to perform each task. That way, everyone in the big group knows what to do, how to do it, and can ask questions.
- Gather everyone at the beginning for a team kickoff.
Hype up the day and make it fun with a short meeting at the beginning to kick off the project. Express your gratitude, play music, make a chant, and get people excited!
Playground maintenance refers to periodic check ups to prevent injuries to those who play on your playground, as well as to circumvent major repair bills that occur due to lack of attention to detail and gradual deterioration over time. At J.C. Walker & Sons Corp., we perform playground safety inspections, which include a maintenance plan based off of your playground, designed to give you peace of mind and the understanding that your playground equipment is taken care of.
In order for your playground equipment to last for years to come, it’s important to be proactive about maintenance, otherwise it will cost you in the future. When you are thinking about maintenance of your playground, you want to be sure that:
- The equipment is free of deterioration.
- Wood equipment is free of splinters.
- Metal equipment is free of rust.
- Plastic equipment is not cracked.
- S-hooks are all closed.
- There are no openings in the jungle gym that are big enough for children’s head or body parts could get caught.
- There are no open areas at the top of slides where strings could get caught and cause strangulation.
- No more than two swings are part of a support structure.
- Proper drainage in the playground is present.
If any of these things is off, or you notice something, call your playground safety expert as soon as possible to make sure the necessary repairs are performed before someone gets injured on your playground. Maintenance is easy, and if you have it performed regularly, you’ll save time, money, and keep your playground safe.
Improper Maintenance Examples:
- Fasteners not properly torqued, or loose.
- Not enough volume of concrete on footings.
- Worn bushings on swing hangers.
- Single rails that spin or rotate.
Benefits Of Regular Maintenance
If you have regular activity on your playground, like a car that is used often, it is to your benefit to pursue maintenance on your playground equipment.
- Keep local children safe and free from injury.
- Prevent major lawsuits, and injuries falling onto your hands.
- Prevent the loss of your job.
- Create a place that the local community enjoys being.
At J.C. Walker & Sons Corp., you can trust us to take care of your playground from start to finish. From designing and building the optimal playground for your needs and your space, to building, to inspection and maintenance, we have you covered. Get in touch with us today. We are here to serve you and look forward to hearing from you.