Archive for June, 2010

Pacific Rim US Military Safety Personnel Attend 1st CPSI Course in Okinawa, Japan

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

On June 15 and 16, 45 military civilian safety personnel attended the first ever Certified Playground Safety Inspector Course and Examination in the Pacific Region. The course was conducted at the Foster Marine Base in Okinawa. Mr Mark Hotelling, Occupational Safety & Health Program Manager, DoDEA Pacific was the local host coordinator. He had people from Guam, Korea, Okinawa, and mainland Japan in attendance. There were participants form every branch of the service stationed in the Pacific Region representing school, childcare, and enlisted housing playground facitilities. It was a very intense program and the site visit at the elementary school site on Camp Foster Marine Base was the perfect site for the second day site investigation exercise. Participants were able to see some relatively older equipment (10 years plus) and observe children playing on the equipment. IPSI, LLC hopes this will be only the first of many future playground safety training programs offered in the Pacific Rim for our military infrastructure support team in cooperation with the National Recreation and Park Association and their National Playground Safety Institute.

Back from Japan after presenting CPSI Course for US military in Okinawa

Monday, June 28th, 2010

Just got back from CPSI Course in Okinawa Japan and visited with many friends and business associates form mainland Japan and their Japanese Park Facilities Association. Had meetings in Tokyo Dome Hotel, home of the Giants baseball team and then Bullet Train to Atami on the coast and finally Kyoto/Kobe/Osaka touring with some friends I met at the 2008

Kutska demonstrates proper test method for head entrapment using Torso Probe.

NRPA Congress in Baltimore. Tom Kalousek was my co-instructor in Okinawa. Had a good trip but glad to be back in the old U.S. of A. Many more international trips scheduled for IPSI and the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) Certified Playground Safety Inspector (CPSI) Course.

South Africa is still scheduled for August 10-13

Playright Hong Kong has a course scheduled for Kowloon October 7-11

NRPA Congresss schedule for October 24-28 in Minneapolis, MN with t ihe CPSI Course scheduled for October 24-26.

November 24-26 it is back to Singapore for a Course hosted by CUGE and the Singapore national Parks Board.

Lots of frequent flyer miles!

Still teaching playground safety course in States. California in early July and then Portland OR in first week of September. Then the travel plans really heat up for the fall. Will be posting some pictures from this last trip here and my facebook page.

U.S. CPSC responds to ASTM F15.29 December 2008 letter on differences in 1997 to 2008 Handbook on Public Playground Safety

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

ASTM F15.29 Subcommittee repsonsible for performance requirements for play equipment intended for public use has been very concerned with the inconsistencies between the current 2008 U.S.CPSC Handbook for Public Playground Safety and the ASTM F1487-07ae1 standard. First post my December 2008 letter on behalf of ASTM F15.29 and IPEMA to the U.S. CPSC describing the areas of concern and then I will post the U.S. CPSC Staff reply dated May 25, 2010.
F1529LettertoCPSC 12-18-89

The following is the May 25, 2010 U.S. CPSC Staff reply to my December 2008 letter on behalf of ASTM and IPEMA.
May 25 CPSC handbook response on ASTM Harmonization 6-7-10

2009 A year in review for IPSI, LLC and a look forward to 2010

Monday, June 7th, 2010

In September of 2009, IPSI went to Heidelberg, Germany’s Patrick Henry Village to offer the course to various Army personnel from throughout Germany as well as Belgium, Italy and France.

Germany CPSI Course Participants

September and October I had the opportunity to meet with representatives of the Japanese Park Facilities Association (JPFA) in Chicago Illinois and again at the NRPA Annual Conference in Salt Lake City Utah.Ken Kutska making presentation to JPFA in Salt Lake City I presented a history of the National Playground Safety Institute (NPSI) and the development of the CPSI Course. We also toured the exhibit hall to show what is being developed and sold in the current U.S. playground equipment market. The JPFA is very similar in focus to the International Play Equipment Manufactures Association (IPEMA) with their main focus only in Japan. Their first play equipment safety standard was released in 2002. Their organization is interested in developing a program similar to the NRPA CPSI Course for playground inspectors. JPFA delegation at Slat Lake City Convention CenterMore recently they have shown interest in developing a course for playground maintenance similar to the one developed by the Park District Risk Management Agency (PDRMA).

I will be meeting with some of their representatives in Tokyo, June 18 and 19, 2010 to discuss the development of such a program in Japan but more on this trip later.

In November it was off to Singapore where we presented the fifth CPSI Course for the National Parks Board and its Center for Urban Greenery and Ecology (CUGE) Classroom settingafter which we were off for Hong Kong to present the first CPSI Course and Exam for Playright HK, an non-governmental organization whose primary focus is to enrich the life of every child through quality play.

Ken Kutska, IPSI Excutive Director and co-instructor Tom Kalousek, NPSI Chairperson

Group Class photo at conclusion of CPSI Course

This charity was formed in 1987 and through their action and publicity covering advocacy, play resources, play outreach and play environments they hope to unlock the full potential of children in Hong Kong and elsewhere in Asia.

2010 is showing good signs of more growth for international playground safety training opportunities such as the National Recreation and Park Association’s Certified Playground Safety Inspector Course and Exam. This week I am off to Japan. June 15 -17 IPSI, LLC will be in Okinawa, Japan to present the CPSI Course at the Foster Marine Base. Over 4o U. S. military personnel from throughout the Pacific Rim Area will be in attendance.

IPSI also has scheduled a CPSI Course to be held in conjunction with the Republic of South Africa’s August 11-13, 2010 Biennial national Conference of Sport and Recreation South Africa (SRSA) hosted by the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban South Africa.

And as of today IPSI is again negotiating with Playright Hong Kong for another CPSI Course in Kowloon Hong Kong some time in late September or early October.

What’s next only time will tell.

Next post will cover the latest recommended changes to the 2008 U. S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Handbook as proposed by the CPSC May 25, 2010 in response to a letter from me, as Chair of the ASTM F15.29 Subcommittee, dated December 17, 2008.

How many Certified Playground Safety Inspectors are within my State?

Saturday, June 5th, 2010

Certified Playground Safety Inspectors: How do they add up?

By Kenneth S Kutska, CPSI

Executive Director

International Playground Safety Institute, LLC

The National Park and Recreation Association has successfully launched its online registry of CPSIs worldwide. In an effort to better serve us this registry lists all CPSIs who have opted to be listed as an inspector in good standing. The CPSI designation is good for three years from the date the participant passes their examination. Because the industry and its workforce is far from stagnant we have seen a lot of turnover in the NRPA registry over the years. Historically it appears there is at least a 30 to 40% annual attrition rate. While we have CPSI’s re-certifying for the 5th time we are seeing as many 50% first timers at nearly every location. We are pleased to finally see increased participation from school systems, childcare facilities and the military.

The economy has impacted the number of participants in many States but the annual number of institutes still exceeds 50. Since 2001 NRPA has conducted over 50 Institutes and certified or recertified more than 2,500 people. NRPA has maintained an up to date CPSI Registry of between 6,000 to 8,000.

Here are a few current statistics about the CPSI Certification Program. As of October 2009 there are currently only 606 people listed. This is voluntary and most seek CPSI designation for their agency only and chose not to be listed. Everyone will have a chance to be added to this registry in the near future. Keep an eye out for information via the NRPA Web site at As of October 2009 there were:

  • 7,033 CPSI note this number changes monthly as certifications expire and new people pass the examination
  • 1,983 participants passed the CPSI examination out of more than 2,500.
  • Total participants in CPSI Courses since 1991 is over 40,000
  • The Examination Passing Score is now 70 out of 100.

Over the nearly twenty year history of the National Playground Safety Institute and the CPSI Course there have been significant fluctuations in the year to year participant totals. This information has not been analyzed to determine how or why these numbers fluctuate. I know from my long time involvement in this program that State legislative initiatives have significant impact on their State’s participation in the program. We have experienced up and downs in some State’s participation numbers when the NRPA Affiliate host organization experiences key staff turnover.

It is interesting to see how the CPSI numbers have changed over the years from State to State. In 1999 there was a total of 4,278 CPSI’s. The top states in totals were California at 492, North Carolina 284, Texas 245, New York 229 and both Washington and Florida 224. Ten years later things have changed. California and many other states have implemented legislation impacting public playgrounds. In a report dated October 12, 2009 there were 6,039 CPSIs. California still was leading the State by State total with 830 with Florida next at 353, Texas 327, Illinois 303 and Washington 291. You can see that many State’s numbers have more than doubled yet some like North Carolina and New York for some unknown reason have declined.

Back in the early 1990’s when I wrote my goals for the NPSI and CPSI Course I was hoping we would some day have one certified person in every community in America. While we are not there yet, I believe the numbers demonstrate that we are well on our way. If there has not been a CPSI Course held within your State for at least one year, I urge you to call the NRPA and volunteer to be the Local Host for your next CPSI Course in your area. Chances are your State Park and Recreation Affiliate organization is going through hard times and has cut back on staff who usually run these types or outreach programs and therefore they may need looking for someone to step in and organize the entire course. This is a big job but not as large as one might think. There is an excellent Local Host Manual with a step by step explanation of the entire process. Now is a good time to step forward. If you are from a school district, insurance agency, childcare facility, or military installation you too can help by assisting the local state park and recreation affiliate organization responsible for administering NRPA’s CPSI Courses. You can contact NRPA at and ask for your State’s affiliate phone number and contact person to help convince them to organize a CPSI Course near you. With your help we can make it happen.

Number of Certified CPSIs by State October 2009

Number of Certified Playground 6-1999