Some people still believe that RoSPA playground inspections are in some way different to those conducted by the Play Inspection Company – but the reality is that there is no difference, apart from the different report layouts used by each company.

The organisation that conducts playground inspections under the ‘RoSPA’ banner are otherwise known as Playground Safety Ltd and are a privately run company just like the Play Inspection Company. Both ‘RoSPA’ and The Play Inspection Company only use RPII inspectors, professionals who are qualified to an Annual Level by the Register of Playground Inspectors.

There are only 4 people qualified to examine inspectors to an Annual Level by the RPII, and our Company Directors, Jon & Keith Dalton take 2 of these positions. As a result, many of the current RoSPA inspectors may have been examined by us over the years, and as ‘RoSPA’ also have one Annual Examiner, vice versa.

The only qualifications for playground inspectors are provided by the RPII (Register of Play Inspectors International); being registered with the actual ‘RoSPA’ charity makes no difference at all.

In order to carry out Annual and Post Installation Inspections, you should only use RPII inspectors who are qualified to an ‘Annual’ Level.

The RPII (Register of Playground Inspectors) is an independent examination body that provides certification and training to ensure that playground inspectors are properly qualified. Within the RPII, there are 3 different levels of inspectors: Routine, Operational and Annual. It’s highly recommended that you use the correct level of inspector for the type of inspection you would like carried out, as the level of knowledge required between Operational and Annual inspectors varies to a significant degree.

All RPII Annual Inspectors will be able to issue proof of their status in the form of a certificate. If still in doubt, you should refer to the RPII website where a full list of Annual Inspectors can be found.

You should also ensure that you specify Annual Inspections are carried out by an ‘RPII Registered Annual Inspector’ when writing play area safety tender documents.

Even if you buy certificated products, there’s no guarantee that your playground will be designed or installed correctly. Many of the defects that we find when carrying out Post Installation Inspections are caused by incorrect installation, or site plans being misread. We’ll also check that the correct amount of safety surfacing has been applied to ensure that the playground is fit and safe for use.

It’s for these reasons that a Post Installation Inspection is now recommended in BS EN 1176; the safety standard for children’s playground equipment. It’s also mandatory in the UK for the owner/operator of children’s playgrounds to carry out a Risk Assessment when installing a new playground, or making significant changes to an existing playground.

The Post Installation Inspection will form a crucial part of this Risk Assessment.

The API (Association of Play Industries) provides a comprehensive list of reputable suppliers for the purchase of playground equipment. When buying from API Registered Suppliers, you can also be safe in the knowledge that the API will intervene should you encounter any problems with your supplier. It’s also good to look out for companies that supply Kitemarked or TUV Certificated products; the Play Inspection Company also offers a comprehensive Project Management Service for assistance in this area.

More and more authorities are now making sure that their inspectors are suitably qualified to carry out their day to day tasks. The easiest way to do this is to train your inspectors through the RPII course, which will also mean that they are registered upon successful completion. This training provides a measurable degree of competency for your staff, which could be crucial when defending claims made against your organisation in a Court of Law. The Play Inspection Company can offer training for Routine & Operational playground inspectors, as well as RPII Certification.

There’s no law to say that any form of inspection should be carried out on children’s playgrounds. However, it’s recommended in BS EN 1176 that inspections should be carried out throughout the course of a year. If you fail to carry out these inspections, or fail to keep records of these inspections taking place, then unfortunately you will leave yourself very much open to successful claims in the event of an accident.

There are legal requirements that are applicable in:

• The Health & Safety at Work Act
• The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations
• The Occupiers Liability Act

It’s recommended that you carry out and keep records of 3 types of playground inspections throughout the course of the year, depending on the amount of use: These play area safety inspections are:

• Routine (Daily or Weekly)
• Operational (Monthly or Quarterly)
• Annual

The Play Inspection Company can assist with training for Routine and Operational inspectors or provide quotations for carrying out Operational and Annual inspections on your behalf.

If you have any further questions regarding any of the matters covered above, such as how Play Inspection Company playground inspections are carried out, RPII inspectors and training levels, play area safety in general or anything else at all, our team will be happy to help – just give us a ring on 01202 590675 or send us an email.