Playground inspection

Any playground represents an opportunity for children to have fun, but also for injury. To adequately help reduce the risk of injury, it is imperative that staff in charge of playgrounds understand how to assess the hazards correctly and effectively reduce the potential for accidents.

Playground inspections should be carried out at least monthly, by someone trained to perform the inspections. During higher use periods (fall and spring), it is recommended that inspections be performed on a daily basis.

Using the checklist below for routine inspections on a regular basis as outlined above can aid staff in properly assessing risk and help reduce the risk of injury on the playground.

Any listed items judged inadequate should be addressed immediately.


  • Adequate protective surfacing under and around the equipment
    • Install replace surfacing
  • Surfacing materials have not deteriorated
    • Replace surfacing
    • Other maintenance
  • Loose fill surfacing materials have no foreign objects or debris
    • Remove trash and debris
  • Loose fill surfacing materials are not compacted
    • Rake and fluff surfacing
  • Loose fill surfacing materials have not been displaced under heavy use areas such as under swings or at slide exits
    • Rake and fluff surfacing


  • The entire play area has satisfactory drainage especially in heavy use areas such as under swings and at slide exits
    • Improve drainage
    • Other maintenance

General hazards

  • There are no sharp points corners or edges on the equipment
  • There are no missing or damaged protective caps or plugs
  • There are no hazardous protrusions
  • There are no potential clothing entanglement hazards such as open S hooks or protruding bolts
  • There are no crush and shearing points on exposed moving parts
  • There are no trip hazards such as exposed footings or anchoring devices and rocks, roots or any other obstacles in a use zone

Security of hardware

  • There are no loose fastening devices or worn connections
    • Replace fasteners
    • Other maintenance
  • Moving parts such as swing hangers, merry-go-round bearings and track rides are not worn
    • Replace fasteners
    • Other maintenance

Durability of equipment

  • There are no loose fastening devices or worn connections
  • There are no rust, rot, cracks or splinters on any equipment; check carefully where it comes in contact with the ground
  • There are no broken or missing components on the equipment, e.g., handrails, guardrails, protective barriers, steps, or rungs
  • There are no damaged fences benches or signs on the playground
  • All equipment is securely anchored

Leaded paint*

  • Paint, especially lead paint, is not peeling, cracking, chipping or chalking
  • There are no areas of visible leaded paint chips or accumulation of lead dust
    • Mitigate lead paint hazards

General upkeep of playgrounds

  • There are no user modifications to the equipment such as strings and ropes tied to equipment swings looped over top rails, etc.
    • Remove string or rope
    • Correct other modification
  • The entire playground is free from debris or litter such as tree branches, soda cans, bottles, glass, etc.
    • Clean playground
  • There are no missing trash receptacles
    • Replace trash receptacle
  • Trash receptacles are not full
    • Empty trash

The checklist above is adapted from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s Public Playground Safety Handbook.

Visit the US Consumer Product Safety Commision's website for more information on leaded paint.

This material is provided for informational purposes only and does not provide any coverage or guarantee loss prevention. The examples in this material are provided as hypothetical and for illustration purposes only. The Hanover Insurance Company and its affiliates and subsidiaries (“The Hanover”) specifically disclaim any warranty or representation that acceptance of any recommendations contained herein will make any premises, or operation safe or in compliance with any law or regulation. By providing this information to you, The Hanover does not assume (and specifically disclaims) any duty, undertaking or responsibility to you. The decision to accept or implement any recommendation(s) or advice contained in this material must be made by you.

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