BUKIT LANJAN: For public safety, get rid of the lack of maintenance mentality!

FLASHBACK: Unkempt: The unswept dried leaves at the children's playground in the park. - filepic
Clean-up starting October for Kelana Jaya parks
Monday, 11 Aug 2014
by sheila sri priya
Permanent contractors will be hired by Oct 1 to maintain Taman Bandaran Kelana Jaya and Taman Komuniti Kelana Jaya. The deplorable conditions at the parks were recently featured in a StarMetro front-page story last Thursday. Following the publication, Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) Landscape Department director Zuraidah Sainan, councillor Azizi Ariffin and several residents in the neighbourhood visited the sites on Friday … for more, go to https://www.thestar.com.my/news/community/2014/08/11/cleanup-starting-october-mbpj-to-ensure-permanent-contractors-are-hired-for-kelana-jaya-parks/

BUKIT LANJAN: For public safety, get rid of the lack of maintenance mentality!

Public children playgrounds are not only safety hazards, they are a waste of money.

Public playgrounds and parks are safety hazards because the dilapidated facilities are damaged due to wear and tear.

They are also a waste of money because many parents and children who are aware of the safety hazards avoid using such playgrounds or parks and the facilities.

“The problem with public facilities in Malaysia is the lack of maintenance mentality,” Gerakan Deputy Speaker Syed Abdul Razak Alsagoff said.

So, he said, it was not surprising to read the news report titled “Don’t play around with safety” which claimed in a recent study of 40 parks that 75.6% “are in a bad state”.

“The dilapidated facilities in public children playgrounds and parks are also eyesores, giving a bad image of Malaysia,” he added.

The shrap edges of a broken plastic dome of this playground equipment in Taman Bukit Jalil could cause injuries to children.
FLASHBACK: Poor maintenance spoils it for many of the city's parks
Monday, 12 May 2014
Tourists and city folk are blessed that they can enjoy the beauty of the many public parks in Kuala Lumpur. The parks are generally in good condition with well-maintained grass, ample parking spaces, sufficient lighting, clean and functional toilets, well-maintained jogging trails as well as fitness and children’s playground equipment. But the shortcomings that are common in many of the parks include missing drain covers, damaged rubbish bins, and insufficient shady trees to provide shade for visitors. It is hoped that DBKL will address the problems highlighted here if it is serious in its bid to encourage the public to make parks a frequent destination for rest and recreation activities for the whole family … for more, go to https://www.thestar.com.my/news/community/2014/05/12/more-bad-than-good-poor-maintenance-spoils-it-for-many-of-the-citys-parks/

Syed Razak, who is Gerakan’s nominee to contest N.37 Bukit Lanjan in the coming 14th General Election (GE14), said state and federal governments were to blame for the “sorry state of affairs”.

“The elected representatives, assemblymen or MPs, are also to blame for failing to ensure public safety in their constituencies.

“They are elected to public office not to warm their chairs. They should treat such matter with utmost urgency as it concerns public safety,” he added.

Syed Razak said there was simply no plausible excuse for assemblymen and MPs to not resolve the problem of public facilities in their constituencies.

“If they work hard enough, push the local governments or developers hard enough, there is no reason for the inaction,” he added.

Here’s what The Star Online posted:

"Don’t play around with safety

Sunday, 1 Apr 2018
by yuen meikeng
PLAYGROUND or danger zone?
The lines could easily be blurred, if areas for children to play and socialise turn into safety hazards due to poor maintenance, faulty equipment and badly designed layouts.

For public playgrounds in Malaysia, most (75.6%) are in a bad state, according to a recent study on 40 parks.

Rusty swing hooks, missing handhold bars and leg rests, broken spring rockers and big gaps in pathways are just some of the findings by the Playground Safety Association of Malaysia (PSAM).

Almost half of the equipment is spoilt and in need of repair.

Over 50% of playground equipment and park furniture are also rusty, posing a danger to children, says the study.

But the most common problem, plaguing 64% of the playgrounds, is the surfacing or flooring in play areas.

They are uneven, damaged, rotten or caked with fungus, completely worn out or unfastened from concrete floors.

“This is an important factor because 78% of injuries by children in playgrounds are due to falls,” according to the study made available to Sunday Star.

Such surfacing helps absorb the shock of falls but if they are damaged, it could even be the cause of a child to trip and get hurt.

Other main problems include damaged slides, broken swings, uncut grass and areas littered with hazardous items like broken bottles and trash, says PSAM secretary-general Noriah Mat.

“This is a long-standing problem in Malaysia because the know-how on playground maintenance and safety is still rather new here.

“But it’s high time to start training contractors to build safer playgrounds with proper layouts,” she says.

An example of poor layout is placing the jogging track or walkway too close to swings. Accidents may occur if the child on the swing collides with people walking on the path.

While safety is a shared responsibility in the community, Noriah says local governments are responsible for ensuring public areas are safe for use.

“Local authorities should carry out audits of playgrounds, identify the problems and solve them.

“They should engage certified playground safety inspectors (CPSI) to work with contractors in the installation and maintenance of playgrounds,” she says.

The study by PSAM, conducted for the Public Complaints Bureau, surveyed public playgrounds in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Negri Sembilan in July last year.

During a national seminar on playgrounds last year, Public Complaints Bureau director-general Datuk Harjeet Singh had said there were a total of 11,231 complaints regarding playgrounds received by local authorities between 2015 and 2016.

Based on data from the Health Ministry, 530 children were discharged from public hospitals after suffering from falls involving playground equipment between 2014 and 2016.

Harjeet suggests that local authorities carry out mandatory yearly audits on parks.

“The findings of such checks should be the reference for local authorities to allocate budgets in repairing, upgrading and maintaining playgrounds,” he says.

The bureau also suggests that each local council have officers who are qualified CPSI and for advocacy programmes to be conducted to deter vandalism.

To set a benchmark on safety nationwide, the Department of Standards Malaysia has updated standards that public playgrounds should adhere to.

Three Malaysian Standards on playground equipment and surfacing were approved in January last year.

National Landscape Department deputy director-general (development) Rotina Mohd Daik says the new standards are a comprehensive update to the 2001 version.

One of the changes is increasing the minimum thickness of surfacing material from 25mm up to 100mm, depending on the fall height.

“Thicker surfacing will result in less impact for children and reduce risks of head injuries.

“Ideally, the whole play area should be covered with rubberised surfacing instead of just certain places like the landing areas for slides,” she explains.

The play area for swings should also have sufficent space between other equipment.

“The space between the swings and others should be double the height of the swing. So, if the swing is 2m tall, then the minimum clearance between the swing and other people or equipment should be 4m in length,” Rotina says.

While the standards are in place, the next step is to engage local authorities so that they will apply it to playgrounds nationwide.

“We plan to meet all 149 local authorities nationwide by this year to get them to use the standards in the planning permission stage for playgrounds.

“We want them to embed these standards in the contracts for developers and contractors. If they can do that, it will be a very good start in boosting playground safety,” Rotina says.

Department of Standards Malaysia director-general Datuk Fadilah Baharin says the new standards were developed to ensure the quality of playgrounds.

“Standards not only protect users, but also manufacturers of playground equipment. Should there be any legal disputes, manufacturers can defend themselves by falling back on the standards which they have adhered to,” she says.

It is currently not mandatory for local authorities to impose the standards but Fadilah hopes that they will consider it in their plans.

Noting that there is low awareness on playground safety, she urges parents to always supervise their children when they are at playgrounds.

“Parents should also ensure their kids are dressed in proper attire. Loose clothing or necklaces can get caught in the equipment,” she says.


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