Simplifying Playground Maintenance


new playground can be a lot of fun, but if you forget maintenance requirements, the fun won't last long. Without critical maintenance practices in place, your brand-new playground will show signs of age sooner, and may even become unsafe for kids.

By developing your maintenance plan before it's needed, you will ensure that staff members are adhering to proper practices, minimize the risk of injury, reduce your liability and ensure you get the most out of your investment.

Q: Who should we talk to about maintenance during the planning process?

A: The most important people to talk to about maintenance issues are the ones who will have to deal with those issues as they occur during the life span of your product: your own maintenance people and your local play equipment dealer.

Maintenance people need to be involved in the selection of your playground equipment. They know which brands and which pieces will mean time spent on maintenance. It will make things easier on them if they can keep their parts inventory to a minimum by maintaining as few different brands of equipment as possible. The local dealer can help with the design of a low maintenance playground. The maintenance required will change according to your climate, the safety surfacing you are planning on using and other issues that could be specific to your area.

Potential suppliers should be attentive to your requests, communicate safety issues, be able to supply spare parts quickly and accurately, and give you a good overview of the kinds of maintenance required for the equipment you are purchasing.

Q: What do we need to know about maintaining our playground once it is built?

A: Your playground equipment should arrive with installation and maintenance instructions. These will form the basis of your maintenance schedule. There will be other issues specific to your area or climate. The list should include checking wear points and moving parts, inspecting and tightening hardware if necessary, leveling and replacing loose-fill surfacing. Most issues can be addressed at little to no cost and avoid all liability if they are caught early.

Once a year, you should get a thorough safety audit and inspection of your playground's structural integrity. Rely on experienced personnel to perform this audit. Ask your local dealer for help with this.

Q: How can we ensure that our maintenance plan is being followed?

A: If you don't already have one, set up a training program to ensure your maintenance crew understands the required maintenance duties. Some organizations train their grass cutting crews to perform routine playground safety checks and check hardware while they are on site to cut the grass. This establishes a regular pattern for the checks and minimizes labor costs.

Keep a record of your maintenance plan and a logbook of regularly performed duties. Ask your maintenance crew to follow the plan and log all inspections and repairs. This is especially important if an accident occurs, or if repairs are needed that are protected by warranty.

Q: How can we protect our playground from vandalism—and the need to clean up after it?

A: You can have the perfect maintenance plan in place, but it won't prevent all problems. There are steps you can take to maximize resistance to vandalism., such as reducing the number of plastic parts, minimizing the amount of surface available to be spray painted, and lighting the area. Make sure that the graffiti remover you keep on hand works on the type of graffiti you see in your area.


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