This article was originally published in the Spring 2018 newsletter of the North Gulf Coast Chapter of the Community Associations Institute and was written by Marci Gragg, owner of ForeverLawn Emerald Coast.
Did you see there was a national webinar offered regarding Playground Safety and the risk involved for community associations? This is a topic of interest all across the country as an emphasis on health, child activity, and playful learning has increased over the years.
Not only are these spaces beneficial for the health and learning of our residents, but they are great community features. They not only bring your community together by creating social environments, but they can define the atmosphere of your community and enhance your community appearance.
As playful and enjoyable as these spaces are, being aware of potential hazards, risks and liabilities are in every community association’s best interest. Here are some things to keep in mind:
Is your equipment in a safe condition? Clean, sturdy, age-appropriate, in good repair and without degraded or nonworking parts.
Do you know your equipment’s safety ratings? There are many factors taken into account when it comes to the safety of equipment whether it is new or old. Contact the manufacturer to ensure the ratings for each piece of equipment.
Surfacing plays a huge role in the safety of your playground as well. Long gone are the days that we played on monkey bars over natural grass or even concrete! There are many surfacing options available and each type or brand has specific maintenance requirements and life expectancies. According to the Florida DCF and many insurance companies, failure to have proper safety surfacing could result not only in risk of injury but also loss of an insurance policy or closure of the playground.
The DCF and insurance companies also look at features that may be outside the boundaries of a “playground”, that include fencing, access, sand play, benches, shade structures, etc. Monthly inspections of all aspects must be documented. All inspection documents must be maintained for two years.
“The more you know, the more you don’t know”~ Aristotle
Be sure to check with your experts!