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Inspections of Kilns, Play and Workshop Equipment

Schools Play Equipment Inspections (Outdoor and fixed PE)

Important note

With effect from 1st April 2019 there will no longer be a centrally managed contract for inspections of Schools Play Equipment (Outdoor and fixed PE), so schools will need to make their own arrangements.  The information below is provided in good faith to assist schools with determining and carrying out their responsibilities.

Inspection Requirements    

There is no explicit law to say that any form of inspection should be carried out on children’s play equipment. However, it is recommended in British and European Safety Standards (BS EN 1176) that inspections should be carried out throughout the course of a year. There are also legal requirements that are applicable from The Health & Safety at Work Act and The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations relating to maintaining and inspecting equipment and protecting individuals from injury.

Inspection Frequency

The number of equipment inspections per annum is a decision to be made by each school based on their individual circumstances and needs.  Some related guidance is provided at this link as part of the Health and Safety Manual for schools (available to Health and Safety Traded Service schools): Outdoor Play Equipment

School Routine Visual Inspection

The Health and Safety at Work Act (1974) places a duty of care on Playground managers (Headteachers) and requires them to ensure that indoor PE equipment and playgrounds are safe, so far as reasonably practicable and that all play equipment is inspected regularly as part of their approach.  To comply with this duty, Community and Voluntary Controlled Schools must therefore conduct regular and frequent visual routine checks, i.e. daily/weekly/prior to use inspections to check the basic condition of their play equipment.  These checks must include signs of damage or corrosion which may affect the safety of the equipment, surface or surrounding area (i.e. fencing) together with any obvious hazards such as trip zones, excessive wear, breakages, cleanliness, broken glass/objects on the floor etc.

In order to demonstrate compliance with requirements and also enable management oversight and monitoring, records of inspections must also be kept.  A Daily Visual Inspection template and a Daily Visual Inspection checklist are both available from the online Health and Safety Manual for schools to assist with this, as well as the main guidance on Outdoor Play Equipment.

School Operational Inspection

The Operational inspection is a more detailed and recorded inspection to check on equipment operation and stability, especially for wear.  These inspections should be carried out on a monthly or quarterly basis depending on use or as indicated by the manufacturer. This inspection could be conducted by a suitably trained/competent member of staff.

Annual Certified Inspection - Independent, Qualified Contractor

The British and European safety standard BS EN1176 and the Health and Safety Executive strongly recommends that all play equipment and play areas have at least one inspection every year from an independent, suitably qualified body. This inspection will include checks on long-term levels of safety, classification of risks and recommendations for remedial action.


Appropriate action must be taken immediately if defects are noted during any of the inspections.

Insurance, Claims and Liability

If someone is injured as a result of a defect with play equipment and if that injured person subsequently brings a claim for compensation, a school that has not complied with inspection requirements and/or carried out any necessary repairs/maintenance will almost certainly be legally liable to pay compensation.  It would not necessarily matter whether the injured person had permission to use the play equipment, particularly if it is a child who’s been injured.

Further information

Additional information can be found on: