Older playgrounds may be painted with lead based paints and should be identified and a strategy to control lead exposure be developed. Additional information can be obtained from the CPSC publication entitled, Staff Recommendations for Identifying and Controlling Lead Paint on Public Playground Equipment.
A significant amount of older playground equipment was constructed with pressure treated wood using chemicals to reduce damage from insects/fungi. One of the predominate chemicals used was Chromated Copper Arsenate (CCA), which contains arsenic. Additional information can be obtained from the CPSC publication entitled, Chromated Copper Arsenate (CCA) – Treated Wood Used in Playground Equipment. Also, CCA wood should not be used as playground mulch.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) specifically states that “each service, program or activity conducted by a public entity, when viewed in its entirety, be readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities.” The Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board otherwise known as the “Access Board” developed play area guidelines that are a supplement to the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG). Based on these guidelines, Operators/ Owners are obligated to provide individual with disabilities an equal opportunity to enjoy their respective play areas. More specifically, ground surfaces along accessible routes, clear floor or ground and maneuvering spaces must comply with the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) F1951-14 Standard Specification for Determination of Accessibility to Surface Systems under and around Playground Equipment. Further information and copies of the guidelines can be found at www.access-board.gov
PUBLIC PLAYGROUND RISK MANAGEMENT PROGRAM
Municipalities should consider formalizing playground safety through the development, implementation and enforcement of a comprehensive “Public Playground Risk Management Program” to assist in controlling exposures associated with public playgrounds. The program should contain the following elements:
• Playground Safety Policy
• Designation of a Playground Safety Coordinator
• Safety Audit
• Inspections and Maintenance
PLAYGROUND SAFETY RESOURCES
The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) sponsor a program through the National Playground Safety Institute (NPSI) that offers the Certified Playground Safety Inspector (CPSI) course. This is a three year certification that focuses on the CPSC and ASTM guidelines and standards. The CPSC, ADA and ASTM represent the main reference resources for anyone seeking information or guidance on playgrounds or playground systems. Some of the primary guidelines and standards that are most relevant would be as follows:
ASTM F1487-17: Standard Consumer Safety Performance Specification for Playground Equipment for Public Use
ASTM F2223-15: Standard Guide for ASTM Standards on Playground Surfacing
ASTM F1292-17: Standard Specification for Impact Attenuation of Surfacing Materials Within the Use Zone of Playground Equipment. Information on obtaining ASTM standards can be found at www.astm.org
Consumer Product Safety Commission – Public Playground Safety Handbook. A copy of the handbook can be obtained from the CPSC website www.cpsc.gov
As a Member of Preferred, your Loss Control Consultant is available to lend assistance by providing sample playground safety inspection checklists as well as assisting with formalizing your playground safety programs, policies and procedures.
Christopher H. Kittleson joined Public Risk Underwriters of Florida, Inc. in 2010 and provides Loss Control services for the southern Florida region. With over 20 years of safety & health consulting experience Chris has developed industry expertise in the areas of Construction, Manufacturing and USL&H as well as safety programming expertise in areas of Safety Program Development, Return to Work Programs, Regulatory Compliance, Accident Investigation and Safety Training. Prior to working in the Insurance industry Chris’ career was with IBM where he held various Engineering positions. Chris graduated Cum Laude from St. Cloud State University, St. Cloud, MN with a Bachelors of Science in Engineering Technology, has earned his Associate in Risk Management (ARM) and Certified Playground Safety Inspector (CPSI) designations, is a Professional Member of the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) and was awarded the 2013 Safety Professional of the Year Award by South Florida Chapter of ASSE.