Every year many children are injured as a result of playground accidents. In many cases these accidents could have been avoided if the play area had been correctly maintained.
The obligation regarding duty of care is significantly increased whenever children are concerned.
Statistics have highlighted an alarming increase in the number of injuries to children in play areas, especially head injuries. It is therefore essential that the committee ensure that children are provided with as safe an environment as possible.
- The siting of a play area should take into consideration:
- Proximity to roads – safe crossings
- Any potential water hazards for risks of drowning, health and pollution
- Electricity pylons and substations for mechanical, electrical and electromagnetic hazards
- Seek expert advice before installing any equipment and take careful note of the British Standards that apply regarding safety.
- Impact absorbing surfaces are strongly recommended in order to minimise the likelihood of serious injury.
- It is important that the playground equipment is inspected annually by a professionally qualified and independent person. If you need advice on this aspect we suggest you contact the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) or the Register of Play Inspectors International (RPII).
- Arrange weekly inspections by a responsible adult and formally record findings. Check that all equipment and surrounding areas for litter, glass etc. and clear immediately.
- If any equipment is found to be damaged or in a dangerous state ensure that it is taken out of use or repaired immediately.
- Slides need to be placed facing away from the sun as chutes become extremely hot and can cause burns
- Erect signs stating that no dogs are allowed in the play area
- Enclose the play area with fencing and a gate which are designed to avoided trapping or impailing
- Supply waste bins and empty them regularly
- In the event of an injury, maintain a written report in your Accident Book and report the matter to your insurer immediately
- Siting and condition of trees and bushes should avoid the danger posed by climbing, eating poisonous berries or tripping over exposed roots.