How to keep play equipment safe

Two young girls playing in a sandpit

How to keep play equipment safe - April 4, 2019

  • Posted by Christine Jones in Risk guidance
  • April 4, 2019
  • No Comments

Play equipment is used by many organisations to entertain children, whether resident or visiting. It must be maintained in a good condition and kept clean. Damaged or broken equipment should be put out of bounds or removed pending repair or disposal as necessary at the earliest opportunity.

Play equipment should be subject to a daily safety check, undertaken by a competent person, supplemented by more detailed monthly inspections if identified necessary from risk assessment.

Outdoor play areas

All new play equipment permanently installed outdoors should conform to BS EN 1176 and equipment over 0.6 metres in height should be installed with an impact absorbent surface (BS EN 1177). However, where play equipment is designed to cause a loss of balance impact absorbent surfaces should be provided regardless of height of the equipment. Where play equipment may be climbed upon impact absorbent surfaces should extend a minimum of 1.8 metres beyond the base of the play equipment in question. The minimum depth of impact absorbent materials to be used, based on critical fall heights, as specified within BS EN 1177, should be followed. Play equipment must be firmly sited and the use of concrete avoided.

Outdoor play areas should be clearly defined by a fence and gate, with level access where possible.

When positioning play equipment consideration should be made of the anticipated movement of children in and around the area to minimise the risks of collision and impact with moving equipment.

Play areas should be supervised by staff whenever in use and secured as necessary to prevent children accessing dangerous areas e.g. surrounding roads. Risk assessment of outdoor play areas should include the identification of any potentially dangerous plants or bulbs which may be handled or ingested by children.

Risk assessment should take into account children with certain allergies may have an increased susceptibility to some plants or bulbs. Adequate controls will need to be established to prevent children being exposed to the hazards identified in the risk assessment, which should involve the removal of the plants or bulbs in question wherever possible.

Toxocariasis is an infection caused by worms commonly found in the intestines of dogs. Children coming into contact with contaminated sand or soil are at particular risk, which may be reduced by the following measures:

  • Sand pits should be covered when not in use
  • Animal faeces should be cleaned up at the earliest opportunity
  • Children should wash their hands after playing outside and before eating.

Outdoor play areas should be inspected at least annually by an independent specialist, as recommended under BSEN 1176 and by the Health and Safety Executive, to ensure play equipment remains safe to use.

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We are extremely satisfied with our insurance through Pound Gates, the staff are most helpful and very knowledgeable. When we were unfortunate enough to have to make a claim it was dealt quickly and efficiently and with minimum disruption to the business - Hopscotch Nursery

Hopscotch Nursery Nursery Insurance July 21, 2016

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