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The snow will soon be gone and everyone is will be working on their spring-cleaning lists. Please don?t forget to put the playground facility on the list! As with any equipment that is subjected to the outdoor elements, adverse weather conditions can have damaging effects. The entire area should be thoroughly checked for any hazardous conditions and maintenance concerns, before the playground is reopened for public use. Below is a quick checklist of safety and maintenance issues that should be examined to be sure your playground is in its safest possible condition.

- Heavy precipitation from snow and rain can compact and wash away a playground?s surface material. Lack of surfacing material under and around playground equipment is the leading cause of playground related accidents. Refreshing or replenishing the surface material should be done to insure the surface is at the manufacturers recommended depth for the equipment?s fall height.

- The entire playground area should be cleaned of any litter, debris, leaves, and branches that have fallen within the playground environment.

- Adverse weather can create trip hazards by play equipment or other obstacles on the site. Exposed concrete footings, abrupt changes in surface elevation, containment borders, tree roots & stumps, and rocks are all common trip hazards that are found in play environments and should be addressed.

- A visual inspection of playground equipment should be conducted to make sure the equipment is in safe condition. There should be no missing, broken, or worn components. All wood, metal, and plastic should not show any signs of deterioration. All of the hardware should be tight and show no apparent signs of loosening.

- Your playground should have a thorough inspection performed in order to identify any hazardous conditions. These conditions include protrusions, entanglements, fall zones, entrapments, and pinch points. It is recommended that a certified National Playground Safety Inspector perform the inspection. Once any hazardous conditions are identified, they should be corrected as soon as possible.

It is recommended that if your organization has no program in place for playground maintenance, one should be developed. By doing so you are insuring that the playground facility is maintained in its safest possible condition. Your organization will also benefit by increasing the lifespan of the existing equipment and protecting itself from costly litigation. So while you are out in the field getting all your facilities and equipment in tune for the upcoming year, don?t forget the playground!

*For any further information concerning your playground-call Playground Medic at (914)-741-2228.