Priority 1 offers expert health and safety advice and annual inspections for outdoor play areas.
The British and European safety standard BS EN1176 and the HSE advise that all play areas have at least one inspection every year from an independent and suitably qualified inspector. This inspection should ensure the long-term safety of the site, the play equipment, and ancillary items such as benches and refuse bins, and any fencing and gates which enclose the playground. This inspection along with the less in-depth operational inspections will allow the operators of the play area to meet with their legal and insurance responsibilities as well as complying with the requirements of the European Playground Standard.
Following an annual inspection a written report will be supplied covering all aspects of safety and condition of the play equipment, general and safety surfacing, fencing and gates, and ancillary items. The report will also detail the play areas compliance or otherwise with EN1176 where relevant, and provide recommendations for any remedial actions required. A risk rating will be given for each item of play equipment which can be compared to the rating applicable to the item as provided by the equipment manufacturer or post installation inspection report.
Many manufacturers will only warrantee their equipment if inspections are completed, and all maintenance requirements undertaken. Operational inspections involve a detailed view of each play item, the safety surfacing around play equipment, and the general safety of the playground environment. This level of inspection should be completed every one to three months to check for any parts of the playground which could be a potential harm to the children using the equipment and others visiting the playground.
Annual and Operational inspections should be carried out by trained inspectors who are registered with the Register of Play Inspectors International (RPII).
Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. This is the major legislation covering playgrounds. There is a duty under Sections 3 and 4 to ensure the health and safety of users, so far as is reasonably practicable. Whilst the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations requires a risk assessment of facilities, a safety policy for meeting the risks and appropriate training for those tasked with ensuring policy compliance
Occupier’s Liability Act 1957 & 1984 revision requires that people can expect to be reasonably safe when using the playground and that the level of care required is greater where children are concerned by virtue of children being reasonably expected to act in less safe ways. The act also sets out that there is also a duty of care to trespassers, and that the use of notices has limited applicability in preventing entry or use of areas.