A Story from ORFA & Marmak
During a spring afternoon, a Ontario resident took her four-year-old daughter to a municipal park to play. The young daughter was running along one of the long platforms when she tripped on a strip of metal plating and she struck her head on a sharp metal corner of a step.
The child’s head laceration required sutures. The treating doctor advised the mother that there would be a scar from this, but it could possibly be addressed by plastic surgery when she is older.
The child’s family has pursued a claim against the municipality.
An investigation determined that at the time of the fall, this playground structure had not been inspected for about two years. In that inspection, the staff inspector noted that the rubber was starting to peel on the structure.
The municipality also completed an inspection of this apparatus about twelve days after the fall took place. They noted that the rubber coating that had covered this step where the child struck her head had peeled away and exposed a sharp metal edge at the corner of the step.
However, the municipality failed to inspect this playground apparatus for almost two years prior to this incident, and they had noted peeling rubber on it, but there is no evidence of any repairs made to it. It would be difficult for the municipality to escape liability because they failed to follow their inspection protocol.
It is important that your municipal staff follow policies, procedures and document their inspection and maintenance of playgrounds.
Recreation PEI offers one free playground inspection each year to our members. We also offer RFAM to our members.
RFAM is designed to support recreation departments in their inspection and maintenance of recreation facilities, parks, and trails. The inventory module is available at no cost to members of Recreation PEI. Want to learn more?