Overhead hazards, also called overhead obstructions, are a frequently overlooked danger that can appear on playground areas. In many areas, it is nearly impossible to build a playground that has nothing hanging over the site. It is therefore common for playgrounds to have overhead obstructions. Furthermore, they are continually left alone because they are not on play area itself.
Trees and utility lines are among the most common kinds of overhead hazards, but an overhead hazard can be anything that is within 7 feet of the playground. Branches can fall, so it is important that trees are routinely checked and trimmed back to avoid causing injuries to any children playing below. These checks are extremely important after any kind of serious weather event.
Utility lines are extremely dangerous. They can cause injury simply by falling, but they also pose the risk of electrocution. These can also become more dangerous after they have been moved around in storms, and it’s important to report any utility line damage to the power company. Close the playground until repairs are made to the damaged line. Utility lines that are leaning onto nearby buildings, trees, or even the playground equipment itself can cause fires in addition to posing an electrocution hazard.
There are many other kinds of overhead hazards. Consistent maintenance, repairs, and regular inspections are the best way to prevent overhead hazards from becoming a danger on your playground.