ROSPA Cleaning

Inspection & Maintenance of Playgrounds

RoSPA cleaning ensures the safety of children on their playgrounds.

This does not depend solely upon the initial design of the site and the selection of equipment.

Its continued management and the provision of high quality inspection and maintenance programmes are essential if safe opportunities for children to play creatively are to be preserved.

There is no specific legal responsibility to provide RoSPA cleaning, inspection and maintenance programmes but such procedures are recommended by the Department for National Heritage and the Welsh Office, the British Standards Institute, the Health and Safety Executive, Insurers and RoSPA.

Playground managers have a legal and moral responsibility of care to children using the site – and at the same time they need to meet the expectations of parents. Inspections should be to EN1176, Part 7.


A defined system of inspections is recommended for children’s playgrounds:

Routine Inspection

This looks at the equipment’s basic condition, especially faults due to recent vandalism. Such inspections may be carried out by the manager or his/her staff and should be recorded on a simple sheet or book. The equipment supplier should provide a checklist – RoSPA cleaning can produce checklists if required. Frequency will vary with the site and local usage although weekly should be seen as a minimum.

Operational Inspection

This looks in more detail at the equipment, essentially at vandalism and certain types of minor wear. Such inspections may be carried out by the manager or his/her staff and should be recorded. With a good, routine hands-on check linked to the annual inspection, the quarterly check may not be necessary. RoSPA publishes “Routine Inspection of Playgrounds” to assist with this inspection.

Annual Inspection

This should be carried out by a specialist not connected with the playground operator or manager. Essentially it looks at vandalism, minor and major wear, long-term structural problems, changes in Standard compliance and design practice, risk assessment etc. Such inspections are offered by insurance companies, playground equipment manufacturers, commercial companies and safety organisations, such as RoSPA.

Quality Control

Where inspections are carried out by commercial cleaning companies it is helpful to have an independent random check by an independent organisation such as RoSPA. This is especially necessary for inspections which are contracted out to, for example, a landscape contractor. An internal systems audit can be useful for larger organisations.


No inspection programme is worthwhile unless a structure exists for repairing faults and replacing parts. A system should exist for recording and checking on repairs. The manufacturer’s original parts should be used if they are available.

Post-Installation Inspections for ROSPA.

A RoSPA post-installation inspection helps to ensure that the playground meets modern standards and has been correctly installed. Underground work and some other aspects requiring dismantling or destructive testing are not assessed.

In some circumstances a Certificate of Good Practice is available.

A full, written report, including photographs, will be provided. The report will also cover the quality of the installation and equipment finish. RoSPA archive their reports for 21 years.

Check orientation
Check Minimum Space requirements
Check traffic flows
Check general design safety
Assess general finish and work standards
Give recommendations on inspection and maintenance

Check all ancillary items for:

Suitability (e.g. Standard compliance where relevant)

Check for:

Compliance with agreed Standard (EN1176)
Correct installation
Any missing, damaged or inappropriate parts
General safety

Check for:

Correct areas
Correct depth for the fall height involved
Correct installation

Undertake a risk assessment for risks to users as required by the Management of Health and Safety at Work regulations and give recommendations for any additional action and special maintenance requirements
A very basic assessment of accessibility as required by the Disability Discrimination Act is supplied with the report.
New playgrounds and equipment should be carefully checked for compliance with claims, specifications and installation procedures before being accepted. Where only a single item is placed on a site, such inspections are uneconomic but can be carried out as part of an annual inspection since they will fall within warranty periods if there is anything wrong.