Well-maintained playground equipment can help children to develop cognitively, physically, communicatively, socially, and emotionally in a safer environment. Along with helping to promote children’s development, a quality maintenance program has many positive outcomes.
Protect your investment: Play equipment, protective surfacing, planning, and site development of a playground are significant investments. It simply makes good economic sense to maintain the equipment to extend its life and protect your school or agency’s investment.
Manage risk: Proper, routine, and timely maintenance is a way of managing risks in the community’s play areas, helping to protect users, and demonstrating the community’s standard of care.
Improve children’s play experiences: When playground equipment is broken or otherwise unusable, children miss opportunities for play. That moment of connection with others and fun-filled learning might be lost. The better maintained the equipment, the better the chance that a child’s life is improved. Your work could make the difference!
Promote community values: Maintained and groomed play environments are a source of pride for the community. Taking good care of the playground equipment and maintaining a beautiful environment is an expression of your community’s values.
Control expenses: Timely, preventive routine maintenance procedures help control expenses by reducing upkeep and replacement costs, enabling more accurate budgeting.
When designing a playground maintenance program, managers should consider, among other factors, these concepts:
Inspections should be routine, timely, and followed up with action.
Tip: Design the program to be consistent with manufacturer’s instructions when available and take into account environmental conditions.
Have a system in place that ensures an appropriate response to hazards.
- A hazard is anything that could potentially cause harm. Serious hazards should be immediately repaired, removed, or taken out of service.
Tip: Daily or high frequency inspections may help with responding to the dynamic play environment.
A successful program requires comprehensive commitment.
- Your program requires commitment that begins at the top because funds must be allocated to support it.
Continually educate staff in these and other areas.
- How to effectively identify problems and repair play equipment
- How to provide ongoing maintenance
- How to keep records and documentation of work
When necessary, bring in outside vendors to perform inspections and/or do technical repairs.
Practice complete documentation.
- Complete records of maintenance and repairs are essential for a sound maintenance program and risk control. Providing documented evidence that maintenance is being performed verifies a standard of care as set forth by the operator and creates a historical record that could be useful.
- Often, warranties
By identifying and eliminating hazardous conditions, you can play an important role in Preserving the Play Environment, Promoting the Value of Play, and Protecting Children.