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How Our Park Streamlined Playground Inspections by 30%

By: Dan Withers, Asset Manager, City of Arlington Parks and Recreation

 

To ensure the safety of our youngest citizens, the City of Arlington, Texas Parks and Recreation Department performs thorough playground inspections at each of our 61 playgrounds each month. The inspections are performed by a Certified Safety Playground Inspector (CSPI) and meet all ASTM standards and requirements.

The workflow to complete playground inspections previously utilized a combination of Excel spreadsheets and hand-written scoring of each inspection. To improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the workflow, we’ve transitioned to utilizing our operations management system, Cartegraph OMS.

PREVIOUS INSPECTION WORKFLOW

Each playground had a detailed Excel spreadsheet work-tab that listed all components to be inspected within that playground (61 tabs in a rather large Excel spreadsheet). Each month, the inspector would print out the inspection template for all 61 playgrounds. The inspector would then proceed with the inspection of each playground by manually marking the inspection template with hand-written entries. Photos supporting the inspection would be taken by the inspector using their cellphone camera.

playground inspection software

Photos provided by the City of Arlington, TX

After completing all inspections for a specified month, the inspector would then use the hand-written inspection templates to transcribe the inspection scores and results into the Excel spreadsheet. Supporting photos would be filed for future reference, but it was difficult to determine which photos related to a specific inspection. The hand-written pages would be given to the inspector’s supervisor for review, and then filed into a paper file system. The Excel spreadsheet file would be filed electronically to a unique file name each month.

IMPROVED INSPECTION WORKFLOW

We created a new electronic playground inspection in Cartegraph. The inspections are performed against each piece of play equipment, which are separate assets and roll up to their unique playground asset by utilizing Cartegraph’s parent/child relationship functionality. Each piece of play equipment is given inspection categories, and then category scoring options.

The inspector completes each playground inspection directly into Cartegraph using a mobile device. The inspector is able to capture photos and videos directly in the electronic inspection. If needed, tasks can be immediately created and assigned to address any issues. Automated notifications of unsafe conditions are sent to appropriate management and staff. Standardized online reporting is easily obtained.

park operations software

Photos provided by the City of Arlington, TX

BENEFITS

  1. Consistent tool usage. All park operations work activity is managed with our Cartegraph tool. Completing playground inspections in the same tool allows for consistent training, improved workflow, and other benefits.
  2. Improved efficiency. The total time to complete and review inspections has been reduced by 30%. As we grow the number and type of our playgrounds, additional inspections can be completed by current assigned staff. In addition, the inspector is now able to complete additional maintenance activity when completing the inspections instead of tasking other co-workers, which keeps the playgrounds operational for extended times.
  3. Improved file retention. Paper files are eliminated. Electronic files are managed within our enterprise tool. Security, access, and retention policy are all improved.
  4. Improved photo and video management. Supporting photos and videos are captured by the inspector within the Cartegraph tool using their mobile device, and are quickly saved and stored as part of the inspection.
  5. Improved issue notification. If the inspector fails any category during an inspection, an automated notice is immediately sent to appropriate staff to address the issue in a timely manner. In addition, standardized reporting has been created to allow better review of completed inspections, highlighting issues that need attention.
  6. Improved issue resolution. Tasks are easily created within Cartegraph to address unsafe issues or other items identified during an inspection. Because the inspections are completed in the same work management tool, supporting tasks are created against the exact same piece of play equipment that was inspected. If needed, completed inspections can be quickly reviewed by all operations staff.