Archive for July, 2020

1989 Wheaton Park District IL Comprehensive Playground Safety and Inspection Program

Monday, July 20th, 2020

I already posted an article about my upcomming 6th Edition Playground Safety Is No Accident and I took out my only copy of my old playground safety manual for the Wheaton Park District. I was reading my old manual and it was a trip down memory lane, I decided to get it scanned and post it to my Web site for all to view. It started with State of Massachusetts Comprehensive Injury Prevention Program back in the 1980s when their focus was on playground injuries. Great idea back then, unfortunately they ran out of money before finishing their grant program. Their misfortune was our good fortune and we finished our program we started back in 1986. Attached is a copy of our program back then and it has been a model for many programs that came afterwards.

New Surfacing Putting Theory to Practice Online Course will be a available soon for all Landscape Architects

Monday, July 20th, 2020

Playground Impact Attenuating Surfacing Course

Putting Theory into Practice

Statement of Purpose:

Falls in a playground are not the problem, rather it is the sudden stop when a child encounters the surface that results in the injury.  The frequency and severity of injury will generally be determined by the impact attenuating properties of the surface and the height from which they fell.  Although some believe that the orientation of the child when landing on the surface has a bearing on the outcome that is only partially true and then only to a minor extent since irrespective of the child’s body orientation or physical makeup the severity of the injury is totally on the performance of the surface.  With 72-78% of playground injuries around the world being related to falls to the surface failure to specify, purchase, install and maintain surfaces that consider injury outcome is a travesty to all users of the playground.  It is the role of professionals to understand the performance of surfacing in relation to injury outcomes and install a surface that results in injuries that are below the tolerable level.

The Canadian Playground Advisory and the International Playground Safety Institute have partnered to develop this first of its kind two-day comprehensive education and training program on role of playground impact attenuating surfacing in relationship to injury frequency and severity.


The playground practitioner and stakeholder must understand the performance standards related to the impact attenuating surfacing and their relationship to injury prevention.  This includes the history of medical studies, various international safety standards, and the development of performance measures such as Gmax, Severity Index (SI), and Head Injury Criteria (HIC) and why they will remain the measures for the coming years.  Children want to climb high. They want to challenge themselves and their peers, but with height comes with consequences for greater velocity at the point of impact. How this force at impact is addressed must be addressed at the time the playground equipment and related use zone surfacing are being specified prior to purchase. Those responsible for the final playground design must have a thorough understanding of the various performance requirement measures and testing procedures from the point of view of injury outcome.  Many times, there is a conflict with the need to provide a “soft” surface for the prevention of injury and a “firm and stable” surface to allow people with diminished ability to use the play space.  The selection of a surfacing type or supplier is further complicated with the need for long-term “functional” longevity. The surfacing life expectancy and compliance can be monitored and confirmed through field testing. Realistic product warranties beyond the typical one year for normal wear and tear is a must. Surfacing purchasing specifications and contract documents need to be performance based. These are all important considerations for the playground owner and designer when considering all the variables that can impact performance of the surfacing, such as; fall height of equipment versus critical height of the surfacing, site preparation, initial cost of installation, life-cycle cost of maintenance, installation and repair requirements, harsh environments, excessive wear, and accessibility for those with mobility limitations is generally a difficult balance for many surfacing systems.


The participant will fully understand the history of injury performance, and the degrees of injury severity associated increasing impact forces.  There will be a discussion of the key elements in the writing and requirements for comprehensive specifications and warranties for playground surfacing that cover the needs of an owner at the time of installation and over the following 2 to 12 years of the installation, remembering that the playground surface is an asset with high replacement cost consequences.  The playground practitioner will be versed in the performance of field testing and they will understand how to set both drop heights and performance values for impact attenuation, as well as being able to set measurements for accessibility.  Each participant will be provided with a report template that covers the new requirements for surface field testing according to the ASTM F3313 and the new Specified Height Test F3351. Although it is not the focus of the course, the participant will be able to assess their own organization’s tolerance for risk for liability in the playground design, specification, installation and ownership process.

Certificates of Completion:

Upon completion of the course, the participant will receive a certificate that they attended and participated in this training.  It is important to understand that this is not a substitute for the full day in depth training required to actually perform field testing to the requirements of ASTM F1292 and F3313, but this is a good pre-requisite for the more comprehensive course.

Intended Audience:

The course is intended for playground designers and managers including; Architects, Landscape Architects, playground surfacing manufacturers and sales associates, playground safety inspectors and anyone else who has input into the overall playground design, purchasing and specifications.

Course Content Outline

The following is a comprehensive outline of the course modules. Each module include a statement of purpose followed by various objectives that will be covered during the presentation. There is a list of “key words” that the participant must be able to understand if they are to be able to speak and understand the language of international playground safety. These term and concepts will be discussed throughout the presentation as participants expand their knowledge and begin to understand the role their individual decisions can have on the reduction of fall related injuries and extending the life expectancy and overall compliance of the surfacing to international performance recommendations.

Part 1




American Society for Testing and Materials International [ASTM]

Americans with Disabilities Act [ADA]

  • 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design

Canadian Playground Advisory Inc. (CPA)





International Play Equipment Manufacturers Association [IPEMA]

International Playground Contractors Association [NPCAI]

International Playground Safety Institute, LLC (IPSI)

National Electronic Injury Surveillance System [NEISS]

National Recreation and Park Association [NRPA]

Pre-School and School Age Users                                    

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission [CPSC]

Certified Playground Safety Inspector [CPSI]

This unit contains information about the establishment of the NRPA and other significant national and international players in the playground safety movement, playground safety and accessibility standards and guidelines; an historical perspective of play, how and why injuries occur on public playgrounds, functions of the play environment, and the basis for hazard identification. After completing this unit, you should be able to…

  1. Understand and discuss objectives of the Surfacing course.
  2. Identify the major organization associated with public playground safety.
  3. Identify the relevant ASTM standards and guidelines.
  4. Understand the application the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design.
  5. Distinguish differences between a risk and a hazard.
  6. Identify the major causes of playground injuries and death.
  7. Identify and discuss the significance of anthropometric measurements as they relate to playground user’s age.

Part 2

Overview of Playground Safety Standards, Terms and Definitions related to Surfacing Injury Thresholds


Acceptable Injury threshold                             Hazard

Harm                                                                   Hazard Analysis

Risky Play                                                          Hazard Identification                                             Reasonably Foreseeable Use                          Safe

Safety                                                                  Hazardous Situation   

Risk                                                                     Tolerable Risk      

Residual Risk                                                     Risk Reduction Measure

Risk Analysis                                                     Risk Evaluation          

Risk Assessment                                               Serious Injury

Debilitating Injury                                              Life-threatening Injury

Intended Use                                                      ISO TR20183                

US CPSC                                                            TBI

US CDC                                                               Standard Scope

ASTM F1487 (USA)                                            SS457-07 (Singapore) structures

SS495 (Singapore) surfacing                            CPSC doc 325 (USA) comprehensive

CSA Z614 (Canada) comprehensive                 En1176 (Europe) structures

AS 4685 (Australia) structures                         EN1177 (Europe) surfacing

AS 4422 (Australia) surfacing

The purpose of this unit is to give the necessary information to understand injury thresholds, injury severity and how they are dealt with in standards around the world.  After completion of this section you should be able to;

  1. Understand how children place themselves in harm’s way.
  2. What behavior lead to Risky Play?
  3. Know the types of injuries sustained in a playground.
  4. Know the international terms and definitions related to injury prevention.
  5. Identify the scopes of various playground standards around the world.
  6. Understand the injury severity our standards attempt to reduce or eliminate.
  7. Understanding that standards set a very low bar on tolerable injuries
  8. Understand the formula for all injury frequency and severity.
  9. Understand the purpose of a Risk Assessment.
  10.  Identify strategies are currently available to reduce injury frequency and severity.
  11. Understand the relationship between impact and velocity to severity of injury.

Part 3



Col. John Stapp                                                 Sub-human primate

Cadaver                                                              Gmax

Gmax Threshold                                                AIS curves and g values                      Wayne State Tolerance Curve                          Severity Index (SI)                         Head Injury Criteria (HIC)                                   Abbreviated Injury Scale (AIS)       AIS curves and HIC values                                Impact velocity                             Critical Height                                                      Fall Height                                       Drop Height

The purpose of this unit is to give the necessary information to understand the history of measuring impact values and factors that relate to injury.  A consideration of fall heights and the principles of impact attenuation.  After completion of this section you should be able to;

  1. Understand how today’s impact values have been determined.
  2. Understand the relationship between Impact and Injury Severity;
  3. Know the types of injuries and their severity related to impact values.
  4. Understand the definitions of g, Severity Index and Head Injury Criteria.
  5. Identify the various issues related to fall height and reasonable foreseeable use.
  6. Understanding that standards set a very low bar on impact values
  7. Understand the relationship between Critical Height, Fall Height and Drop Height.
  8. Understand why does Rotational Kinematics impact Risk of Concussion.
  9. Understand how Gmax and HIC relate to Head Injury.
  10. Understand how Fall Height relates to Velocity.
  11. Understand how including duration effects Injury Severity.
  12. Understand how to interpret Injury Risk Curves in relationship to HIC Values.
  13. Understand how Abbreviated Injury Scale (AIS) relates to Playground Injuries.

Part 4



Accessible Surfaces                                                    Fall Height  

Accessible Route of Travel                                         Firm, Stable, Slip Resistant

ADA 2010 Standard for Accessible Design            Functionally Linked Play           

Clearance Zone                                                             G-Max

Combination Swings                                                   High Traffic Areas

Composite Play Structure                                           HIC (Head Injury Criteria)

Critical Height                                                               Impact Attenuation

Composite Surfacing                                                   Loose-Fill Surfacing

Containment Border                                                    Multi-Axis Swing (Rotating)

Critical Height                                                               Overlapping Use Zones

Engineered Wood Fiber (EWF)                                  Resilient Surfacing

Surface System                                                            Single Axis Swing (to-fro)

Unitary Surfacing                                                         Poured-In-Place (PIP)

Use Zone

The purpose of this unit is to give you the necessary information to enable you to select, maintain and inspect resilient surfacing materials to assure adequate protection for users. After completion of the section you should be able to…

1.    Understand impact attenuation, and the need for impact attenuating surfacing within the use zone.

2.    Understand critical height as it relates to surfacing materials.

3.    Discuss the G-max and HIC thresholds relating to the impact attenuation of various   surfacing  materials.

4.    Understand fall height as it relates to play equipment.

5.    Understand the vital relationship between critical height and fall height.

6.     Identify and distinguish differences between loose-fill, unitary, and composite            surfaces.

  • Understand the concept of use zones under and around play equipment

8.     Identify where use zones can be overlapped

9.     Identify where overlapping of use zones is not permitted

10.   Identify requirements for a playground accessible route of travel for children with disabilities

11.   Understand the concept of approach, enter, and use as it relates to accessibility

12.   Understand functionally linked play and its relationship to use zones

Part 5




Accessible Surfaces                              Loose-Fill Surfacing

Critical Height                                               Pea Gravel

Composite Surfacing                             Poured-In-Place Unitary Surfacing (F2749)

(Combination Surfacing System)        Rubber Mulch (Shredded Rubber) (F3012)

Containment Border                              Sand Types

Engineered Wood Fiber (F2075)           Surface System

Fall Height                                               Wood Mulch

High Traffic Areas

Impact Attenuation

The purpose of this unit is to give you the necessary information to enable you to select, inspect, maintain, and repair loose-fill and unitary resilient surfacing materials to assure adequate protection for users. After completion of the section you should be able to…

  1. Identify the different types of playground impact attenuating surfaces available today.
  • Know the advantages and disadvantages of each type of impact attenuating surface
  • Know the different types of user, material and environmental impacts on different surfaces.
  • Know what impacts an impact attenuating surface’s functional life expectancy.
  • Understand the importance of proper installation, inspection and maintenance to assure compliance to playground safety standards.
  • Understand some of the issues effecting the performance and long-term maintenance issues with various surfaces.
  • What impact attenuating surface types best meet accessibility needs of those with mobility challenges.

Part 6


Accessible Surfaces

Critical Height

Drop Height

Fall Height


HIC (Head Injury Criteria)

Overlapping Use Zones

Reference Test Pad

Specified Height Test

Surface System

Triaxial Accelerometer

Unitary Surfacing

Use Zone
The purpose of this unit is to give you the necessary information to enable you to understand what is involved in conducting laboratory, field and specified playground surfacing impact attenuation drop tests to help determine current and future compliance to the minimum requirements of ASTM F1292 and ASTM F1487 Standards. After completion of the section you should be able to…

1.    Understand impact attenuation, and its purpose in surfacing within the use zone.

2.    Understand critical height as it relates to fall or drop height during surfacing material compliance testing.

3.    Understand differences between ASTM F1292, F3313, F3351, En1177 Standards

4.    Better understand the vital relationship between critical height and fall height.

5.    Be able to identify and distinguish the advantages and disadvantages between loose-fill, unitary, and composite materials.

  • Understand the concept of identifying most adverse conditions in use zones under and around play equipment where drop testing should occur.

7.    Understand each different “surface type” must be tested whenever more than one surface material is used within the equipment use zone.

8.    Understand the information that must be incorporated into reports for a Lab. Critical Height Test vs. Field Test vs. Lab. Specified Impact Height Test.

9.    Better understand how Specified Impact Height test results, lower than minimum F1292 impact thresholds, or higher owner specified post installation drop height can impact surfacing system life expectancy and standard compliance.

Part 7



Changes in Level                                                          Cross Slope

Rotational Penetrometer                                             Running Slope

Vertical Clearance                                                        Vertical Rise

Carpet pile height

This unit presents a brief overview of information presented in the previous 6 Parts of the program. Part 7 will put the participant in a position to begin to make well informed decisions about what surfacing types would be best for their specific situation. These decisions will take into account all aspects of selection process to selecting the right impact attenuating surface taking into account numerous variables   After completing this unit, you should be able to…

  1. Understand the basic requirements of barrier free design of accessible routes based upon best practices of the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design.
  1. Understand the performance and physical definitions for various barrier free design requirements including; clear width of the route, allowable changes in surface grade, (maximum allowable running slope, cross slope, vertical rise in any surface or transition, max. opening or gap within the accessible route, minimum overhead clearance over width of the route and how much and where clear space and parking space is required  adjacent to equipment for wheelchair access.
  1. Understand what makes a surface minimally accessible.
  1. Understand how to determine whether the work required to pass over an IAS system exceeds the minimum allowed by ASTM F1951 test method.
  1. Understand how a Rotational Penetrometer field test instrument works in the field to measure compliance with the firmness and stability requirements of an accessible route with the ASTM F1951 Laboratory Test.

Part 8




Abbreviated Injury Scale (AIS)

Functional Longevity

Hazard ID and Risk/Benefit Assessment

Injury Thresholds

Intended Use

©ISO TR20183:2015

Polyurethane Binder (Aliphatic vs Aromatic)

Reasonably Foreseeable Use/Misuse

Rotational Penetrometer

ASTM F2479

This unit presents a brief overview of information presented in the previous 7 Parts of the program. Part 8 will put the participant in a position to begin to make well informed decisions about what surfacing types would be best for their specific situation. These decisions will consider all aspects of selection process to selecting the right impact attenuating surface taking into account numerous variables   After completing this unit, you should be able to…

  1. Be able to start to put all objectives of the entire course into perspective when making management decisions on selecting the appropriate playground IAS System.
  2. Be able to make management decisions to reduce the frequency and severity of all injury
  3. Better understand the many IAS variables and their relationship to reducing the severity and frequency of fall related injuries.
  4. Introducing Hazard Identification and Risk/Benefit Assessment Process.
  5. Understanding the factors effecting Functional Longevity and Long-Term Compliance.
  6. Knowing how to specify long-term compliance.

What is new at IPSI, 6th Edition Playground Safety IS No Accident

Monday, July 20th, 2020

On behalf of the tens of thousands of playground owner/operators who have and will continue to use the contents of Playground Safety Is No Accident (PSINA) as a guide for training staff to inspect and maintain safer playgrounds, we are pleased to announce the new 6th Edition. It is almost a decade since this resource was last revised and much has transpired since the printing of the 5th Edition back in 2011.

Since 2011 there have been two new releases of the ASTM F1487 Standard and many revisions to the various impact attenuating surfacing standards under the jurisdiction of F08.63 Subcommittee. Likewise, other international playground standards from around the world have also been revised. The manufacture of playground equipment and various impact attenuating surfacing systems have become more of an international marketplace. Many play equipment manufacturers have expanded their supply chains to other parts of the world as new manufacturing techniques and new materials have become more readily available. This expansion has brought about more creative designs that focus more on play value and risk taking rather than on safety being the first and foremost objective. Many international companies have entered into the public playground equipment manufacturing world in hopes to secure a segment of the growing North American and world markets for both play equipment and protective surfacing. There are still several differences in the Asian versus European versus North American Playground Safety Standards. Standards writing organizations in North America such as ASTM and CSA have focused on many of these market driven changes. We have also recognized the need to apply a more hazard-based risk assessment approach to our performance standards development brought about by the inability of standards writing organizations to keep pace with all the new industry developments. We have found that we can no longer rely on the prescriptive performance standards writing approach for each and every iteration for every conceivable variation of our traditional playground equipment types. We have learned a great deal about our differences within each other’s national and international standards. While international standards are not likely to be harmonized any time soon, we can all agree that we should at least be speaking the same language related to our playground safety scoping statements and common performance requirements.

My involvement in the international community’s discussion on harmonization has provided useful and insightful information for improving and advancing our inspection and maintenance practices. This information will assist playground safety inspectors make playspaces safer by effectively and efficiently addressing identified deficiencies in the playground environment. We will never eliminate all injuries and deaths on playgrounds, but we can surely focus on eliminating and/or mitigating those things that contribute to the frequency and severity of all serious playground related injuries.

In response to the global playground safety movement, the 6th Edition includes an expanded glossary of terms to clarify and harmonize the language used by playground safety standards writing organizations. I refer to this international language as, “Playgroundese.”

This new edition includes upgraded inspection forms and worksheets with expanded explanations on how to use each form. An important change is the completely revised “Post Installation Compliance Inspection and Assessment” process and form. This form was formally referred to as the “Playground Safety Compliance Audit.” While the scope or purpose of the various types of playground safety inspection forms remain somewhat the same, there have been many revisions based on the redefining of some of the more basic equipment types as we move away from the prescriptive approach to a more hazard/risk assessment approach of performance standards writing. The content has been modified to reflect what has been occurring around the world with regards to industry performance standards and this includes our most recent efforts to harmonize terminology and their associated definitions related to playground design, manufacture, assembly, installation, inspection, maintenance and the overall management of these public facilities for the benefit of all people.  

Today’s playground safety needs have become more complex and inspectors require more information and tools to perform a more effective and efficient job. Over the years, many Certified Playground Safety Inspector’s (CPSI’s) have taken time to write and express their needs for additional resources. This new version includes many of these suggestions. There are  a few personal testimonials from people who have taken the time to put into their own words how previous editions of this book have provided the information and knowledge necessary to develop, implement, and improve a playground safety inspection and maintenance program.

As previously stated, one of the largest undertakings in this revision was the total rewrite of the “Playground Safety Compliance Audit Form.” The revised form reflects the most current recommendations found within ASTM F1487-20. This new Audit form is now referred to as the “Playground Safety Compliance Inspection and Assessment Form.” Its primary purpose continues to identify what is and is not in compliance with the best practices (Standards and Guidelines), Changes in the form and process will aid the user to focus more on the importance of each identified shortcoming to determine a priority for corrective action. This prioritizing or ranking in order of importance what actions are required and when they should occur are still based on the probability of a serious injury occurring because of frequent exposure to the non-compliant condition during normal use. There are many different risk assessment tools out there that an inspector can use during this process. This 6th Edition provides some additional materials to help the inspector establish their own assessment tool or process.

Most everyone agrees ASTM Standards are voluntary unless codified by some regulatory authority with jurisdiction over the owner/operator. However, these standards, along with the recommendations found in the current 2010 United States Consumer Product Safety Commission’s Handbook for Pubic Playground Safety provides everyone responsible for the safety of playground users a reasonably safe harbor for their defense should a serious injury occur. The new audit form, as with all other audit forms before, includes the new citation numbers relative to either the CPSC or ASTM document. These citations provide a reference to assist the user in preparing formal reports. They also provide a quick reference guide for less experienced inspectors who may need to refresh their interpretation of specific issues that may arise during the inspection process.

In September of 2010, the United States Department of Justice 2010 ADA Standard for Accessible Design (DOJ 2010 Standard) became law. While no one can be guarantee absolute compliance to this law, the 6th Edition includes a new section to assess compliance to the barrier free accessibility minimum requirements up to, into, and through the playground. This form is also provided as part of the comprehensive post installation “Playground Safety Compliance Inspection and Assessment.” This form and the process can be conducted outside of the post installation compliance inspection process as a stand-alone accessibility assessment process for those who have yet to complete a transition play for assessing every playground for compliance with the accessibility and barrier free requirements based on the enforceable minimum requirements of the DOJ 2010 Standard for Accessible Design. This assessment process does not attempt to qualify or guarantee a playground is ADA compliant because only the Department of Justice is the only authority for that final determination. There are many new additions under types of playground equipment that follow the new ASTM Standard.

The PSINA Book also includes a “Playground Safety Compliance Inspection and Assessment Short Form.” In 2002 with the 3rd Edition of PSINA there was a need for a revised “Audit Form.” Between 1995 and 2002 there were many changes to the ASTM F1487 Standard. Inspectors were looking for a current checklist that was up to date with changes in both ASTM and CPSC Handbook. While there was not much of a need to revise the remainder of the book the Audit Form was in definite need of revision. Antonio Malkusak now of Abundant Playscapes, previously worked as a landscape architect for the Wheaton Park District. Wheaton was a member of the Park District Risk Management Agency (PDRMA) who also requested an updated form for their member agencies. I was too busy at the time to undertake this project, so Tony volunteered to take this on which ultimately lead to the 2002 3rd Edition. Part of Tony’s work for PDRMA was to create what was referred to as an “Audit Short Form” which was a compilation of all the changes that had occurred within the ASTM Standards and CPSC Handbook since the last printing of the book. This provided an option for playground operators who had previously conducted a comprehensive post installation compliance inspection just before 1997. Using this new “Short Form” they could review all their playgrounds and focus on just the changes in performance requirements assuming that current inspections, maintenance, and repairs kept the playground in substantial compliance with those standards and guidelines in effect at the time the original compliance inspection was completed. There is another new short form to assist those who may not have done another comprehensive compliance inspection and assessment since the 4th Edition of PSINA in 2009 which addressed the most recent changes to ASTM F1487-07. This new short form will address changes in the 2010 CPSC Handbook for 2-12 playgrounds and the ASTM F1487 Standard versions from 2011, 2017, and 2020. There have been many changes to the content and layout of the new post installation compliance audit process so it might behoove all operators to complete the entire process from the very beginning but I will leave that up to you to decide. I have placed more emphasis on the assessment process for all identified non-compliant conditions including all the minimum accessibility and barrier free requirements. There now are more ASTM F1487 requirements for additional information that the owner needs to gather to verify in writing the playground equipment and the impact attenuating surfacing system was installed according to the manufacturer’s installation instructions.  While gathering this information is not necessarily the responsibility of the inspector this information should still be available for review by the inspector. This written verification should any special requirements as provided by the manufacturer for installation, inspection, maintenance, repairs, and performance are being followed and are part of the playground site history file. In addition, if inspectors are not required to perform surfacing compliance drop testing during their inspection, they should include a disclaimer to that effect in their contract or final report. Without written verification of surfacing performance compliance the job as a playground safety compliance inspector is incomplete. Surfacing performance is directly related to a playground’s overall safety compliance ranking and surfacing compliance verification to minimum requirements is directly related to the mechanism of injury outcome for both frequency and severity.  

PSINA 6th Edition includes all the inspection forms for each type along with other worksheets in an electronic format. The entire book and interactive adobe formatted forms can also be purchased separately in an electronic format. The electronic format will again include a PDF of the DOJ 2010) Standard, revised “Maintenance Needs Assessment Checklist” covering those inspection items that need to be assessed as part of any more comprehensive preventive inspection and maintenance process. This process would typically include the Low Frequency Inspection which is now being referred to as the “Operational Inspection.”  The “Maintenance Needs Assessment Checklist” will assist the inspector in developing their own customized inspection form for each individual playground location. This type of inspection covers the general playground environment for items such as site amenities, landscaping, walkways, signs and general impact attenuating surfacing requirements prior to moving into those items related to specific types of play equipment. This checklist will assist a novice inspector in conducting the more detailed operational inspection without having to memorize every item that may need to be inspected. It is highly recommended; however, the inspector creates a customized operational inspection form that also includes all the specific maintenance and repair recommendations of the manufacturer.

There is another type of inspection currently recommended in the European (EN1176), Australian (AS4685), Canadian (CSA Z614) standards. The Japanese (JPFA-SP-S) inspections has a somewhat similar types of inspections except for the frequency of each. That inspection type is referred to as the “Annual Main Inspection.” This type of inspection is performed annually and often by a third-party inspector. It is similar in scope to the “Operational Inspection” but includes a total site risk assessment. This same process can be used to develop and conduct the “Annual Main Inspection.” This type of inspection is somewhere between the operational less frequent safety inspection and the post installation compliance inspection. This inspection often includes surfacing compliance verification and a risk assessment analysis of the entire playspace on an annual basis.

Regardless of which of these international standards you might look to for guidance on installation, inspection and maintenance the most typical terminology used to describe the various types of safety inspections are “Routine Visual”, “Operational”, “Annual Main,” and “Post Installation.” “Routine Visual Inspection” is like what we traditionally refer to as “High Frequency Inspection.” They are done on a much more frequent basis even daily. The “Operational Inspection” is similar to the “Low Frequency Inspection” and done on a less frequent monthly or quarterly basis focusing on preventive and manufacturer recommended maintenance tasks. These include those routine custodial tasks that are also being performed during the “Routine Visual Inspection.”  

The International Playground Safety Institute, LLC recommends first time Certified Playground Safety Inspector (CPSI) Course participants purchase the Playground Safety Is No Accident, 6th Edition book before using the electronic inspection forms and worksheets. This is especially true for those individuals new to the playground safety inspection and risk management processes discussed in the CPSI Program. The book includes background information and detailed instructions on how to use the forms. It also includes new staff training materials to assist those with less knowledge, skill, and experience related to the use of these forms. This book is one of the recommended readings for anyone preparing to take the CPSI Certification Exam without first participating in the actual CPSI Course.

The contents of Playground Safety Is No Accident, 6th Edition provide practical information concerning various components of a comprehensive playground safety and inspection program. It has evolved from what was the Wheaton Park District’s Comprehensive Public Playground Safety Program I established back in 1989. The origins of the very first comprehensive compliance inspection or audit came from the State of Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Statewide Comprehensive Injury Prevention Program (SCIPP) Playground Safety Checklist. The 1st Edition which was widely circulated around the country was jointly published in 1992. It became part of the NRPA CPSI course materials and was distributed to all NRPA CPSI Candidates starting in the mid 1990’s. The 2nd Edition was jointly published by the NRPA, National Playground Safety Institute (NPSI), Park District Risk Management Agency (PDRMA), and its authors in 1998. The 3rd Edition was published by same way in 2002. The 4th Edition was published by the International Playground Safety Institute, LLC and its authors in 2009 as was the 5th Edition in 2011. This 6th Edition, as with all other preceding versions, is sold with the understanding that neither the IPSI, LLC, the publisher, author, contributing writers nor the agencies or organizations they may represent are rendering legal advice or other professional service. Both the law and professional standards and guidelines change regularly, and may vary from state to state and from one locality to another. You are advised to consult with a competent attorney in your state if you are in need of specific legal advice concerning any of the subjects addressed in this book.

Playground Safety Inspection Forms and Worksheets including the sample “Playground Safety Compliance Inspection”  and all other Inspection Forms are intended for voluntary use by anyone who has purchased a copy of Playground Safety Is No Accident to document playground equipment conditions at the time of inspection. Effort has been made to ensure the appropriateness of the forms in relation to best practices for inspecting playground equipment. However, Standards and Guidelines change from time to time and the final determination of the appropriate inspection practices and safety of playground equipment must be determined on a case-by-case basis. In addition, all manufacturer requirements must be strictly followed. Participants of the Certified Playground Safety Inspection Course who have attained CPSI status should, with practice and continued study, become skilled in applying their knowledge in conducting accurate and complete playground safety assessments according to their own frequency as determined by internal policy and procedures.  NRPA and IPSI, LLC and the book contributors do not endorse or enforce use of these forms. No certification or “seal of approval” is granted or may be inferred by the IPSI, LLC the authors, its officers, agents, or employees.

That being said, the materials contained in this new edition of Playground Safety Is No Accident are as current as the information available in the ASTM F1487-20 Standard, the November 2010 revision of the U. S. CPSC Public Playground Safety Handbook, and the Department of Justice 2010 Standard for Accessible Design.

For more information on how to acquire either the book with electronic versions of the forms and worksheets just go to; or