An inspector should walk around the playground on a regular basis. The ground surface under play equipment should be inspected to make sure that it’s in good condition and sufficiently deep. Safety organizations say that loose material under playground equipment up to eight feet high should be twelve inches deep and extend out for at least six feet. Wood chips, sand, and shredded rubber are suitable materials for cushioning. Other ground surfaces should be checked for debris that could cause children to trip or hurt themselves if they fall to the ground.
The condition of all equipment in the playground should be checked regularly. Wooden equipment should be inspected to see if it’s rotting or has splintered, for example, nails and bolts should be checked to make sure that they are in place, and metal should be checked for rust. Equipment should be examined to ensure that it can still support the weight of children and that any materials used to provide traction are still in good condition.
The cleanliness of sand in sandboxes should be checked. (The sandbox should be covered when not in use to prevent contamination.) Barriers and fences should also be inspected regularly to make sure that they are intact.
In addition to regular inspections, a playground should be checked after unusual weather conditions. Ice may have to be removed, for example, and metal areas that have become too hot in the sun may have to be cooled or avoided.