Playground inspections are an important part of every public entity’s risk management and safety program – as they should be, but most of us don’t really understand what is really involved. Here’s six insane, but true, things about playground inspections that you might not have been aware of.
Surfacing impact testing is not part of it
CPSI’s are suppose to look at the surfacing for defects and to make sure that it covers the use zone appropriately. But what they don’t do is impact test the surfacing to make sure it hasn’t lost it’s protective properties. Certainly a head impact test can be performed, but that’s typically an extra cost and requires a Triax machine.
Inspections are not audits
Inspections only look for problems or hazards that exist on the playground. An audit on the other hand, measures everything to make give you an overall look at the playground. An audit tells you both the good and the bad about the playground. The inspection only gives you the negative feedback.
Inspections find just as many hazards on new playgrounds as old playgrounds
Not every time, but often times, an inspection will find just as many hazards on a new playground as an old playground. Why? Installers, designers and manufacturers all make mistakes and those mistakes show up on the playground.
A great inspection doesn’t take long
A great inspection might be over in 30 minutes and that is okay. A really good CPSI will have performed 100’s of inspections during the year and all that knowledge and experience let’s them know where to look for hazards. So, the next time your inspector walks away from the inspection in 15 minutes, don’t think they didn’t find anything.
Judgement is supreme
A CPSI’s judgement is just as important to the inspection process as the actual measurement of equipment. A CPSI’s judgement can overrule a measurement.
Inspections can only happen with the owner’s permission
A CPSI is bound by the code of ethics and can only inspect a playground if the owner provides direct permission to do so. If the owner of a public playground has a playground that has fallen to deferred maintenance, it still cannot be inspected without that owner’s permission. To do so would place the CPSI in harms way to lose their credential.