Photo courtesy Jim Messina

lot of chaos can occur around a play structure. From shooting water and moving equipment to running, screaming children, it’s practically an accident waiting to happen. That is, unless the play structure is properly supervised by staff. And in a survey by Aquatics International, only 55 percent of facilities trained their staffs on how to supervise one. Here’s how to instruct your employees to safely and properly guard such a structure.

1 Give them a tour. Let your staff play, spray, climb, slide, dump, pull, push and everything else that kids do. Allow them to become familiar with various features and elements.

2 If there’s a slide that’s tall enough, many local jurisdictions require a lifeguard at the top and the bottom of the slide, says Andrew Mowatt, vice president of resort sales and marketing at White-Water West Industries Ltd. in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada. If it gets to a point where your structure requires more lifeguards on the structure than at the entire pool, rethink the design.

3 Enforce a maximum number of people allowed on the structure at any one time. Emphasize that parents should watch their children. Do not let kids jump from the structure or get entangled in ropes.

4 Have guards do a quick inspection at the end of the day for any loose or broken pieces and slippery surfaces.