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A03772
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
HOUSE BILL
No.
1443
Session of
2023
INTRODUCED BY GREEN, MADDEN, PROBST, KAZEEM, ABNEY, KINSEY,
BURGOS, SANCHEZ, CEPEDA-FREYTIZ, PARKER AND OTTEN,
JUNE 20, 2023
AS REPORTED FROM COMMITTEE ON CHILDREN AND YOUTH, HOUSE OF
REPRESENTATIVES, AS AMENDED, MARCH 19, 2024
AN ACT
Amending Title 35 (Health and Safety) of the Pennsylvania
Consolidated Statutes, providing for playground safety; and
imposing duties on the Department of Community and Economic
Development. ESTABLISHING THE STATEWIDE ADVISORY COUNCIL ON
PLAYGROUND SAFETY; AND PROVIDING FOR DUTIES OF THE STATEWIDE
ADVISORY COUNCIL ON PLAYGROUND SAFETY.
The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
hereby enacts as follows:
Section 1. Title 35 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated
Statutes is amended by adding a chapter to read:
CHAPTER 59
PLAYGROUND SAFETY
Sec.
5901. Definitions.
5902. Rulemaking.
5903. Playground safety audit and hazard analysis.
5904. Repair, replacement or removal of major hazards.
5905. Less serious hazards.
5906. Playground safety plan.
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5907. New or renovated playgrounds.
5908. Council.
5909. Powers and duties.
5910. Enforcement.
§ 5901. Definitions.
CHAPTER 56A
STATEWIDE ADVISORY COUNCIL ON PLAYGROUND SAFETY
SEC.
56A01. DEFINITIONS.
56A02. COUNCIL.
56A03. POWERS AND DUTIES.
§ 56A01. DEFINITIONS.
The following words and phrases when used in this chapter
shall have the meanings given to them in this section unless the
context clearly indicates otherwise:
"Council." The Statewide Advisory Council for ON Playground
Safety established in section 5908 56A02 (relating to council) .
"CPSC." The United States Consumer Product Safety
Commission.
"Department." The Department of Community and Economic
Development of the Commonwealth.
"Less serious hazard." A condition or practice likely to
cause serious or minor, nondisabling injury or illness resulting
in temporary disability.
"Major hazard." A condition or practice likely to cause
permanent disability, loss of life or body part.
"Playground." An improved outdoor area designed, equipped
and set aside for children's play which is not intended for use
as an athletic playing field or athletic court. The term shall
include any play equipment, surfacing, fencing, signs, internal
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pathways, internal land forms, vegetation and related
structures. The term shall exclude home playgrounds, home
playground equipment, amusement park equipment, sports
equipment, fitness equipment and limited access contained play
systems.
"Playground safety audit and hazard analysis." A safety
inspection and examination of playground equipment and
conditions as established by the council.
"Responsible entity." The Commonwealth and its agencies,
political subdivisions, public, private or nonpublic elementary
or secondary schools, including charter schools, or approved
child-care facilities which are subject to and in compliance
with regulations issued by the Department of Human Services or
any other entity operating or owning a playground open to the
public.
"Secretary." The Secretary of Community and Economic
Development of the Commonwealth.
§ 5902. Rulemaking.
Within one year of the effective date of this section , the
department shall promulgate regulations establishing safety
standards for the design, installation and maintenance of all
playgrounds operated by a responsible entity. The regulations
shall establish safety standards which shall be at least as
protective as the guidelines in the Handbook for Public
Playground Safety produced by the CPSC. These regulations shall
be promulgated in the manner provided by law, but shall not be
subject to the act of June 25, 1982 (P.L.633, No.181), known as
the Regulatory Review Act.
§ 5903. Playground safety audit and hazard analysis.
(a) Conduct.--A responsible entity operating a playground
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area shall conduct a comprehensive safety audit and hazard
analysis of every play area and piece of play equipment
designed, constructed, owned, operated or maintained by the
responsible entity.
(b) Procedure.--The council shall develop a standard
procedure for conducting a playground safety audit and hazard
analysis.
(c) Initial audit and analysis.--Within six months of the
final adoption of the safety audit and hazard analysis procedure
by the council, the responsible entity shall complete a safety
audit and hazard analysis.
(d) Submission to department.--The responsible entity shall
submit a copy of its findings to the department.
§ 5904. Repair, replacement or removal of major hazards.
(a) General rule.--If the safety audit and hazard analysis
conducted by the responsible entity reveals unsafe equipment or
conditions which pose a major hazard to children, the play
equipment or conditions shall be immediately removed or upgraded
by replacement or improvement necessary to comply with the
regulations for safety standards adopted by the department.
(b) Major hazards described.--Situations involving play
equipment or conditions that present major hazards to children
include:
(1) Entanglement hazards.
(2) Entrapment hazards.
(3) Hard-hitting swings.
(4) Unsafe surfacing.
(5) Unstable equipment.
§ 5905. Less serious hazards.
All equipment presenting hazards classified as less serious
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must be removed, repaired or replaced in order to comply with
the regulations adopted by the department. In order to conform
with this section , a responsible entity shall establish a
playground safety plan.
§ 5906. Playground safety plan.
(a) Content.--Each responsible entity shall devise a
playground safety plan which shall include a timetable to ensure
that playground hazards which are classified as less serious are
systemically addressed. This plan shall include provisions for
cyclical or periodically scheduled inspections of all play
equipment and areas designed, constructed, owned, operated or
maintained by the responsible entity. The plan shall also
include provisions for preventive and responsive maintenance of
equipment and conditions.
(b) Compliance.--The responsible entity shall have six
months after the final adoption of the department regulations to
comply with this section .
§ 5907. New or renovated playgrounds.
On or after the effective date of the regulations promulgated
by the department under section 5902 (relating to rulemaking),
any new or newly constructed, installed or renovated playground,
play area, single unit or play structure shall comply with the
safety standards adopted by the department.
§ 5908 56A02 . Council.
(a) Establishment.--The Statewide Advisory Council on
Playground Safety is established. The council shall consist of
20 25 members appointed by the Governor. The term of office of
the members shall be three years, except for the cabinet
officers or their designees who shall serve for as long as they
are in office.
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(b) Membership.--The membership of the council shall be
representative of parents of school-age children, school
districts, school boards, local municipalities and government,
public and private providers of child care, nonpublic schools,
charter schools, safety and design experts of playgrounds and
play equipment, injury prevention specialists, the secretary or
a designee, the Secretary of Education or a designee, the
Secretary of Health or a designee, the Secretary of Labor and
Industry or a designee, the Secretary of Human Services or a
designee and the Secretary of Environmental Protection or a
designee. MANUFACTURERS AND RETAILERS OF PLAYGROUND EQUIPMENT,
HOMEOWNER ASSOCIATIONS, CHURCHES, RESORTS, INJURY PREVENTION
SPECIALISTS AND RELEVANT COMMONWEALTH AGENCIES. NO LESS THAN
THREE MEMBERS OF THE COUNCIL SHALL BE CERTIFIED PLAYGROUND
SAFETY INSPECTORS. THE MEMBERS OF THE COUNCIL SHALL INCLUDE THE
FOLLOWING MEMBERS:
(1) THE SECRETARY OR A DESIGNEE.
(2) THE SECRETARY OF CONSERVATION AND NATURAL RESOURCES
OR A DESIGNEE.
(3) THE SECRETARY OF EDUCATION OR A DESIGNEE.
(4) THE SECRETARY OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION OR A
DESIGNEE.
(5) THE SECRETARY OF HEALTH OR A DESIGNEE.
(6) THE SECRETARY OF HUMAN SERVICES OR A DESIGNEE.
(7) THE SECRETARY OF LABOR AND INDUSTRY OR A DESIGNEE.
(8) A REPRESENTATIVE FROM A CITY OF ANY CLASS.
(9) A REPRESENTATIVE FROM A BOROUGH.
(10) A REPRESENTATIVE FROM A FIRST CLASS TOWNSHIP.
(11) A REPRESENTATIVE FROM A SECOND CLASS TOWNSHIP.
(12) A REPRESENTATIVE SELECTED BY THE PENNSYLVANIA
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RECREATION AND PARK SOCIETY.
(c) Designees.--The designees of cabinet officers under
sub section (b) must be deputy secretaries, commissioners or
bureau directors.
(d) Officers.--The chair of the council shall be appointed
by the Governor and must be selected from those members who are
neither employees of the Commonwealth nor elected officials.
(e) Committees.--The chair of the council may appoint
special committees, which may include nonmembers of the council,
to make recommendations to the council concerning key issues
related to this chapter .
(f) Compensation of members.--The members shall serve
without compensation but shall be reimbursed for reasonable and
necessary expenses incurred in accordance with the rules of the
Executive Board.
(g) Staff.--Staff services for the council shall be provided
by the department.
(h) Conflict of interest.--
(1) No member of the council may be employed by or be an
owner of a business that produces, manufactures or sells, at
wholesa le or retail, playground equipment.
(2) No member of the council may use the authority of
the membership on the council or any confidential information
received through membership on the council for the private
pecuniary benefit of the member, a member of the council
member's immediate family or a business with which the member
or an immediate family member of the council member is
associated.
§ 5909 56A03 . Powers and duties.
The council has the following powers and duties:
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(1) To review and comment to the department, the
Department of Education, the Department of Health, the
Department of Human Services, the Department of Labor and
Industry , THE DEPARTMENT OF CONSERVATION AND NATURAL
RESOURCES and the Department of Environmental Protection on
draft regulations and standards as they pertain to playground
safety.
(2) To review and comment to the appropriate legislative
committees and the Independent Regulatory Review Commission
on regulations and standards proposed under this chapter . ANY
PROPOSED PLAYGROUND SAFETY REGULATIONS AND STANDARDS.
(3) To assist and advise Commonwealth agencies in their
effort to carry out the provisions of this chapter EFFORTS TO
IMPROVE PLAYGROUND SAFETY . This shall include the following:
(i) Recommendations for the implementation and
enforcement of regulations and standards , including the
definition of a safety audit and hazard analysis .
(ii) Suggestions regarding sources of fiscal and
other support from Federal, State, local and private
sources for the upgrade of playgrounds to comply with
regulations and standards for safety.
(iii) Recommendations regarding personnel training
in playground safety and inspection.
(iv) Recommendations for the implementation of
Statewide systemic inspection of playgrounds. IMPROVEMENT
OF PLAYGROUND SAFETY AND INSPECTION PROCEDURES.
(v) Recommendations for the development of a
reporting mechanism for parents and others in the
community who feel a playground may be unsafe.
(vi) Development of a plan for publicizing and
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disseminating the standards adopted by the department.
(vii) Creation (VI) CONSIDERATION of safety plan
models to be utilized by communities and schools in
assisting with their own development of safety plans.
(4) To meet at least four times a year.
§ 5910. Enforcement.
The department shall cause an inspection of a playground to
ensure that the playground complies with the safety standards
adopted under this chapter . If the department finds that the
playground does not comply with the safety standards, the
department shall order the playground closed until the
playground is upgraded to comply with the standards.
Section 2. This act shall take effect immediately.
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