Playground Safety Plan

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    This Plan is designed to help the St Cloud School District comply with the requirements of the Minnesota Department, of Education with regards to exercising due diligence in " the construction, maintenance and care of school playgrounds at each of its school playground facilities. Based on the recommendations of U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission publication "Handbook for Public Playground Safety, Pub. No. 325", this plan has been developed to provide safe playgrounds for students.

    As written, this Plan is intended to guide the St Cloud School District in its efforts to provide safe playgrounds and equipment at each site, but will need to be reviewed and modified on a regular basis. St Cloud School District is responsible for the enforcement and updating of the Plan. Actual use of this Plan is limited to Resource Training and Solutions and to the St Cloud School Districts which it represents.


    Plan Review and Updated Report

    Playground Management Plan review and Update Report

    Program review and changes are documented below. Documented reviews indicate that the plan continues to meet the needs of the District, or has been modified to do so more effectively.

Plan Review and Updated Report
    Overview of Playground Safety

    The Consumer Product Safety Agency recognizes the potential hazards existing in the use of playground equipment by children. Parents and school officials have a right to be concerned with accidents and injuries occurring on playgrounds and are demanding that playgrounds and equipment be installed that is as safe as possible for children to use and that is properly maintained to ensure maximum safety.

    According to the CPSA, the most serious accidents on playgrounds occur with falls from equipment involving falls to the ground rather than collisions with other playground equipment or falls from one piece of equipment to another part.

    Other areas of concern include colliding with stationary and moving equipment, i.e., swings, and contact with sharp edges, pinch points, hot surfaces and playground debris. The Commission has also received reports of fatalities associated with falls and entanglement of clothing or other items on slides, entanglement in ropes tied to equipment, heads caught in openings, injury from equipment falling over or collapsing and children being struck by moving swings. All equipment should be inspected frequently for potential hazards, corrosion or deterioration. The area should also be checked for debris and other dangerous objects. Playground surfacing or impact material should be examined to ensure that it has not become displaced or become compacted, especially under slide, swing or other high impact areas.

    It is the intent of this Plan to prevent playground related injuries through recognition and reduction of hazards, proper inspections, equipment maintenance and staff training.



    Critical Height - the fall height below which a life-threatening head injury would not be expected to occur.

    Designation Play Surface - any elevated surface for standing, walking, sitting or climbing, or a flat surface greater than 2 inches wide having an angle less that 30 degrees from horizontal.

    Embankment Slide - a slide that follows the contour of the ground and at no point is the bottom of the chute greater than 12 inches above the surrounding area.

    Entrapment - any condition that impedes withdrawal of a body or body part that has penetrated an opening.

    Footing - a means for anchoring playground equipment to the ground.

    Guardrail - an enclosing device around an elevated platform that is intended to prevent inadvertent falls from the platform.

    Infill - materials used in a protective barrier to prevent a user from passing through the barrier, i.e., vertical bars, lattice, solid panel, etc.

    Loose-Fill Surfacing Material - a material used for protective surfacing in the use zone that consists of loose particles such as sand, gravel, wood fibers or shredded rubber.

    Non-Rigid Component - a component of playground equipment that significantly deforms or deflects during the normal use of the equipment.

    Protective Barrier - an enclosing device around an elevated platform that is intended to prevent both inadvertent and deliberate attempts to pass through the barrier.

    Protective Surfacing - surfacing material in the use zone with specific shock absorbing properties that conforms with Section 4.5 of the Handbook for Playground Safety, Appendix B.

    Roller Slide - a slide that has a chute consisting of a series of individual rollers over which the user travels.

    Slide chute - the inclined sliding surface of a slide.

    Stationary Play Equipment - any structure which does not move or does not have components that move during its intended use.

    Tot Swing - a swing generally appropriate for children under 4 years of age that provides support on all sides of the occupant.

    Tube Slide - a slide in which the chute consists of a totally enclosed tube or tunnel.

    Unitary Surfacing Material - a manufactured material used for protective surfacing in the use zone that may be rubber tiles, mats or a combination of rubber-like materials held in place by a binder that may be poured in place at the playground site and cures to form a unitary shock absorbing surface.

    Upper Body Equipment - equipment designed to support a child by the hands only, i.e., horizontal ladder, overhead rings.

    Use Zone - the surface under and around a piece of equipment onto which a child falling from or exiting from the equipment would be expected to land.


    Playground Equipment Safety Policy

    To ensure the health and safety of children using playground equipment, the St Cloud School District will adhere to the rules established by this policy:

    1. Purchasing

    Playground equipment and surfacing will be purchased from and installed by reputable manufacturers or distributors who follow the recommendations published by the CPSC and The National Recreation and Parks Association. Although purchasing decisions need to be guided by overall project costs, the purchasing agent will consult with Health and Safety Director or designee to ensure that the pending purchase meets all applicable public playground safety standards and recommendations. Any decision regarding purchasing which exceeds low bid will be approved by the School Board or Superintendent.

    2. Staff Training

    The St Cloud School District staff involved in playground activities will receive annual training on the hazards and dangers associated with playground equipment. Training will be based on the CPSC playground safety inspection model and will be provided to Playground Supervisors, Maintenance/Custodial Staff and other staff members with responsibilities for playground activities. (Appendix B).

    3. Playground Inspections

    Playgrounds will be inspected regularly during the school year by trained maintenance/custodial staff assigned these responsibilities. Inspections will be completed using the CPSC Playground Safety Inspection Guidelines (Appendix C). Playground Supervisors and other personnel will be expected to provide a cursory inspection of equipment and the playground area prior to and during playground usage using the Public Playground Safety Checklist. (Appendix D).

    NOTE: For Health & Safety funding, inspection by a National Recreation and Park Association "Certified Playground Safety Inspector" is required. This inspection will include an audit of playground equipment and recommendations for replacement of defective equipment and safety improvement of playground facilities.

    4. Maintenance and Repairs

    Equipment and surface materials found to be defective or deficient will be removed from use until effective repairs have taken place. Equipment or surface materials needing to be replaced will be scheduled for repair or replacement as soon as possible within budgetary parameters.

    5. Inspection and Maintenance Documentation

    Documentation of inspections will be completed and maintained of every structured inspection activity. This will include the dated CPSC Playground Safety Inspection Guidelines as well as records of repairs and other assessments completed by St Cloud School District staff, the certified playground safety inspector, consultants and other appropriate parties.

    6. Accident Reporting and Records

    Playground Supervisors will develop and maintain a log of injuries and near-injuries experienced by students while at play. The data to be kept and maintained will be the date of the incident, what transpired, the piece of equipment or location of surfacing involved, any witnesses and recommendations to avoid a similar event in the future. The account will be forwarded to the Principal and the Health and Safety Coordinator for further review and discussion. See example of log in (Appendix E).

    Incident logs will be reviewed at the quarterly meeting of the Safety Committee.

    7. Contact Person for each school playground is:

    Director of Buildings & Grounds, 320-370-8145

    8. Annual Review

    This program will be reviewed and approved by the School Board at least annually and will include staff recommendations drawn from updates of regulatory, guidance standards and new developments.


    Public Playground Safety Checklist

    Consumer Product Safety Commission

    Public Playground Safety Checklist

    CPSC Document #327


    Is your public playground a safe place to play?

    Each year, more than 200,000 children go to U.S. hospital emergency rooms with injuries associated with playground equipment. Most injuries occur when a child falls from the equipment onto the ground.

    Use this simple checklist to help make sure your local community or school playground is a safe place to play.

    Public Playground Safety Checklist

    • Make sure surfaces around playground equipment have at least 12 inches of wood chips, mulch, sand, or pea gravel, or are mats made of safety-tested rubber or rubber-like materials.
    • Check that protective surfacing extends at least 6 feet in all directions from play equipment. For swings, be sure surfacing extends, in back and front, twice the height of the suspending bar.
    • Make sure play structures more than 30 inches high are spaced at least 9 feet apart.
    • Check for dangerous hardware, like open "S" hooks or protruding bolt ends. 
    • Make sure spaces that could trap children, such as openings in guardrails or between ladder rungs, measure less than 3.5 inches or more than 9 inches.
    • Check for sharp points or edges in equipment.
    • Look out for tripping hazards, like exposed concrete footings, tree stumps, and rocks.
    • Make sure elevated surfaces, like platforms and ramps, have guardrails to prevent falls.
    • Check playgrounds regularly to see that equipment and surfacing are in good condition.
    • Carefully supervise children on playgrounds to make sure they're safe.


    Appendix A: Playground Safety Compliance Checklist

    The following checklist serves as a quick reference for St Cloud School District to evaluate their level of compliance.

    • Training Staff and Document (Appendix B) 
    • Monthly Periodic Inspection (Appendix C) 
    • Annual Review

    Note: This checklist is not intended to be comprehensive in nature. The St Cloud School District should refer to their respective Exposure Control Plan which further outlines general compliance requirements.


    Appendix B: Training Log


    Appendix C: CPSC Pub. No. 325 Handbook for Public Playground Safety


    Appendix D: CPSC Playground Monthly Inspection Form


    Appendix E: Accident and Injury Reporting Log