Technology helps keep outdoor play areas safe all year round
6 November 2017The long days of summer may be behind us, but Cheshire West and Chester’s many outdoor play areas will receive the same care and attention during the coming winter months to keep them safe and in working order.
The Council’s Play Inspectors are out and about all year, in all weathers, visiting the borough’s 106 play areas and checking play equipment, gates and fencing. Recently they started to use tablets to record and monitor the condition of the borough play areas.
Across the borough there are 164 swings, 84 climbing frames, 51 roundabouts and 40 slides and 9 zip lines, plus many other pieces of play equipment that need to be in tip-top condition. Every single item is listed in a database which allows officers to electronically report where repairs are needed.
Play areas are inspected either monthly or weekly. Weekly inspections are carried out in the most popular play areas that are more likely to experience wear and tear.
The inspections cover everything from the links in swing chains to the floor surface around all pieces of play equipment, as well as the safety of perimeter fences and the speed the park gate closes, to ensure children cannot get trapped.
The inspectors address any hazards or defects by removing, taping off or making the equipment safe. They record anything found on the database using their tablet and note anything that needs keeping an eye on for future visits.
The Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Wellbeing, Councillor Louise Gittins said: “Having good facilities for play is vital for children and young people because it contributes to their cognitive, physical, social, and emotional well-being. We have a very thorough rota of checks for all our play areas to keep them safe for everyone to enjoy. However, if you spot a problem please do let us know.” www.westcheshireyourstreets.co.uk.
The website aims to make reporting problems easier and provide useful information about the range of services the Council provides in communities across the borough.
One of the Council’s Play Inspectors records the condition of equipment in Westminster Play Area.