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  • Writer's pictureE. Smith

Loose Fill Surfacing Playground Maintenance Information

This covers some important information regarding the safety of loose fill playground surfacing.

Loose fill surfacing, such as sand, wood chips, and loose fill rubber, is commonly used in playgrounds to cushion falls and prevent injuries. It is crucial to maintain loose fill surfacing to ensure it continues to provide adequate impact attenuation.

Neglecting to maintain the surfacing can lead to serious consequences. Lawsuits have been brought and settled due to inadequately maintained surfacing. Accidents can happen, but they can be made worse by the failure to follow recommended maintenance procedures. Without proper documentation of maintenance and following the manufacturer's recommendations, the chances of having to settle a lawsuit in the event of an injury likely increase.

We have put together a list of eight steps that should be noted to ensure the safety of your playground/s:

1. Conduct Regular Inspections: Inspect the playground on a weekly or monthly basis to identify maintenance needs and signs of wear, such as bald spots, displacement, or compacted areas. Take action to repair or replace the surfacing if you notice these issues. Board members, community members, grounds maintenance, or managers can inspect the surfacing regularly and reach out to a team of professionals if concerns are noticed. We recommend having a CPSI inspect the surfacing at least once a year, and occasional testing should be performed as mentioned further below.

2. Maintain Drainage: Ensure the drainage system in and around the playground is clear of debris and functioning properly. Proper drainage helps prevent standing water, which can lead to the growth of mold, harmful organisms, and faster compaction.

3. Till the Surfacing: Tilling the surfacing according to the manufacturer's recommendations helps redistribute the material and fluff it up, better maintaining the impact attenuation and assists in preventing the growth of mold or other harmful organisms.

4. Follow Manufacturer Recommendations: Keep and follow all documents from the manufacturer and their recommendations for maintenance and replacement of the surfacing.

5. Schedule an ASTM 1292 Compliant Surface Test: Have an ASTM compliant surface test done every couple of years to check the surfacing for weaknesses and to ensure that it meets the required safety standards. The test will provide the most data as to the current condition of the surfacing. If the test results show that the surfacing falls below the national testing standards, replace the surfacing. If not, keep tilling and refilling materials as needed.

6. Budget for Surfacing Needs: Properly budgeting for the maintenance and replacement of the loose fill surfacing when necessary can help prevent unexpected costs and ensure the continued safety of the playground.

7. Train Staff on Maintenance Procedures: Ensure staff members are trained on the maintenance procedures for the playground surfacing to ensure that the surfacing remains safe and compliant.

8. Educate Parents and Children: Encourage parents and children to use the playground equipment safely, and remind them to report any safety concerns to the playground maintenance team.

Remember, properly maintaining playground surfacing is crucial for ensuring the safety of children while they play. We hope this information has been informative and useful for you.

If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team. We are here to help.

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