Playground Safety Audits

Accurate Assessment Reports for Playground Safety and Standards Compliance

Playground operators have an ongoing duty of care to maintain a safe and compliant play space and regular inspections are an important feature of playground ownership. In addition to the routine maintenance specified by the equipment manufacturer, formal playground inspections are required at least once per year.  Playground Assessments by adventure+ are carried out in two different levels according to the client’s requirements or contract. It is recommended that playgrounds that have not previously had a written audit report are always assessed at Level 2 in the first instance. Recertification is then recommended every 5 years with Level 1 inspections in intervening years.

adventure+ auditors are independently trained and Level 3 qualified, with the backing of many years’ experience, including hands on experience with playground installation. They carry basic tools and hardware and are able to perform minor repairs and tightening of hardware as a complimentary feature of their site visit. Where the maintenance requirements are outside this scope, a separate service call will be necessary, and this will be charged separately, and additional to, the playground assessment.

Details of the playground assessment services offered by adventure+ are as follows:

Level 1 Playground Assessment – Safety Check

When to request this service:

  • Regular annual inspection
  • Within 5 years of standards compliance audit
  • Following serious vandalism or maintenance issues
  • Assessment to assist in deciding on equipment replacement cycle

What it includes:

  • Site inspection
  • Written report
  • Maintenance issues

Service basis options:

  • Ad hoc request
  • 3 year renewable contract – 3 x Level 1 Assessments

Service call charges to carry out maintenance or repairs are additional.  Replenishment of undersurfacing and/or equipment modifications will be quoted following the inspection.

Level 2 Playground Assessment – Compliance & Safety Audit

When to request this service:

  • New playground certification
  • Recertification of compliance after 5 years’ service
  • Following modification or upgrade of the equipment or site
  • Assessment to assist in deciding on equipment replacement cycle

What it includes:

  • Site inspection
  • Written report
  • Maintenance issues
  • Equipment inventory
  • Site plan
  • Overall assessment grading
  • Standards compliance audit

Service basis options:

  • Ad hoc request
  • 5 year renewable contract – 1 x Level 2 Assessment and 4 x Level 1 Assessments

Service call charges to carry out maintenance or repairs are additional. Replenishment of undersurfacing and/or equipment modifications will be quoted following the inspection.

Standards

The following standards are referenced when playground assessments are carried out:

AS 4685:2014 Parts 1-6, & 11
AS 4422:2016
AS/NZS 4486.1:1997

It is important to understand the difference between Level 1 and Level 2 assessments. Level 1 is a basic safety check, and does not extend to a complete compliance audit.

Reports are based on the observations of the auditor on the day of inspection and do not include observation of the equipment under load. Furthermore, those parts of the Australian Standard which require the use of testing equipment (other than static entrapment probes) are beyond the scope of a routine on-site audit and no findings in respect of compliance with these parts of the standard will be made or implied. While the auditor is thorough, under the conditions of inspections, it is not possible to ensure that every hazard has been observed or reported. Since vandalism, disassembly and normal wear and tear are ongoing risks to safety, the client must continue to carry out the periodic inspections as outlined in the manufacturers’ documentation on an ongoing basis.

In Level 2 Assessments, a detailed inventory of equipment is included in the report, and this will provide a useful reference of the items actually inspected. The inspection covers two main categories:

  • Compliance – Compliance is determined using the Australian Standards noted above. This is an industry accepted benchmark of safety, and does not represent the personal views of either the auditor or Adventure Playgrounds Pty Ltd in respect of safety.
  • Maintenance – Inspections cover readily observable disassembly, vandalism or missing items, as well as assessing the maintenance required because of normal wear and tear.

Reports include details of any specific components that do not achieve a full score under either the Compliance or Maintenance checks. The relative urgency of rectification is indicated by the score. Where minor repairs and the tightening of hardware can be attended to by the auditor on the day of inspection, any parts or hardware used will be an additional charge. More significant repairs and modifications can be quoted following the assessment if requested by the client.

Notes

  • Reports are limited to the matters contained in the cited standards that the auditor may reasonably be able to observe by visual inspection, and by the use of entrapment probes. The equipment will not be assessed in regard of the structural integrity parts of the standards, and may not be observed under load conditions. Standards Compliance Certificates in regard of structural integrity should be obtained from the manufacturer.
  • Assessment of in ground footings and corrosion below base level require excavation of the undersurfacing and/or sub base and are excluded from assessments unless it is specifically stated in the report that excavation has been carried out. Any such findings relate specifically to the in ground members inspected, and there remains a possibility that not all in ground members have and will perform identically.
  • Impact testing of undersurfacing requires specialised equipment, and it is beyond the scope of these assessments to certify compliance without such testing. The findings of the auditor are therefore made in good faith based on the visual appearance of the undersurfacing, but test results should be obtained from the supplier where appropriate.
  • The playground operator acknowledges that an element of risk applies to all children’s play and he/she allows the equipment to be used in acceptance of all such risks. While every endeavour is made to anticipate potential hazards, a finding of compliance with a standard does not imply that the use of the equipment is free of risk. The playground operator remains responsible to ensure that equipment is only used by the intended age or user group with appropriate supervision when equipment is in use.
  • It is the responsibility of the playground owner to ensure that the equipment is not used unless it is in safe working order. For continued safety we recommend regular safety inspections as per the manufacturers’ recommendations and the installation and maintenance of undersurfacing in accordance with Australian Standards.
  • If there are requirements or standards other than the Australian Standards listed that apply to this facility, additional assessment may be required. Assessments are limited to those matters listed in the checklist forming part of the reports.