Summer Risk Management Maintenance Checklist

Here are some of the risk management priorities for summer maintenance:

Sidewalks, pathways, parking, private streets and recreation areas.

Cracks or other changes in elevation that exceed ½ inch should be corrected to avoid serious trips and falls. Any section that is raised by ½ inch or more poses a trip hazard. Some sections become so uneven that they are no longer compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). A concrete section that is ½ inch “off grade” can be leveled with a concrete grinder (these are usually available as rentals). Sections in worse shape can be repaired with asphalt if the cost of concrete replacement is too high. Damage caused by tree roots might require consultation with an arborist to determine if the roots can be trimmed or removed.

Leaking pipes, air conditioning units, sinks/toilets, water heaters/boilers, etc. (or evidence of water leakage on ceiling tiles, walls, floors, exterior areas).
Any moisture that escapes its intended containment vessel can cause serious damage and health issues over time. This is truly one of the situations where “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Mold and rot can cause hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage and lost use of your facility.  Don’t ignore, explore the origins and call a professional if needed.

Roof leaks.
Roof leaks cause the same issues noted above and can harm the structural integrity of the building. Repairing during dry months makes sense and typically costs less.

Gate, door and window locks.
Don’t come back after summer break to find all of your computers and equipment missing.  Make sure all of the locks work. All it takes is one missing, broken or faulty lock to render your security efforts meaningless. Ensure that one person and one back-up person at each site hold the primary responsibility for locks. When keys are lost, re-key.

Exposed metal utilities (especially those containing copper) such as plumbing, air conditioners, etc.

Over the past two years, copper piping and other metal has become extremely valuable. Thieves are aggressively targeting schools and the damage can run into tens of thousands of dollars as well as the loss of use of your building during repairs. Evaluate your campus to determine vulnerabilities and seek the advice of professionals to secure as needed.

Alarm systems.
Make sure that your fire and security alarm system is maintained and operational. In locations not served by security alarms, consider inexpensive Internet-based systems that a staff member or volunteer can monitor while school is closed.

Fire extinguishers.
Each extinguisher should have a tag that records the recharge and maintenance intervals. Make sure yours are up to date. For more information about extinguishers, training and appropriate types, contact your CharterSAFE Risk Manager or check the CalOSHA website at

Glass – windows and doors.
Broken glass is an invitation to vandals and thieves and poses a hazard to everyone else.  Fix cracked windows and other glass elements on your campus.

Security: fences, shrubbery and trees, lighting.
Burglars look for holes in fences and places to hide when they are sneaking onto your campus. If chain link has been compromised, or other fencing has been broken or bent, it should be a priority repair. Shrubbery and trees near windows, doors, and fences can obscure or provide access to the burglar who is gaining illegal entry. Trim them to minimize their effectiveness as a hiding place. Make sure lighting is operable and bulbs are working.

Secure laptops, tablets, computers, other valuables and paper records.
Thieves have stolen entire carts of laptops by driving away with the cart. Layers of security, including locked gates, entry doors, storage rooms and the carts themselves can be a good deterrent and take extra time to penetrate. Consider GPS tracking on at least one of the computers on your cart if anti-theft software is not feasible for all computers. Important paper records should be locked in a secure, fireproof cabinet.

Playground equipment:
California has strict regulations for playground equipment on school playgrounds. Take time before summer to scrutinize the playground for the following problems, at minimum:
  • “S” hooks – The hooks that hold swings and other moving components should be closed on both ends to the point that they do not allow a credit card or a dime to pass through the opening.
  • Bolts or other protrusions – any metal or wood that protrudes from the equipment can snag clothing or skin, causing serious injury and strangulation.
  • Swing seats – check to ensure they are in good condition.
  • Surface material – replenish sand, wood chips, wood fiber and rubberized mats as needed. Contact your CharterSAFE Risk Manager for specifics.
  • Broken components - including slide beds, ladders, etc.
Torn and loose carpeting, uneven or broken flooring and area rugs that are curled or have no anti-skid treatment should be fixed, removed, or replaced. These hazards are equal opportunity villains; students, staff and guests are all vulnerable to injury.

Athletic fields and sports equipment.
This is the time to tackle gophers, ruts, damaged sprinkler heads, etc. Weight rooms should be evaluated to ensure that the equipment is working, has appropriate signage and is thoroughly sanitized.

Tree trimming.
Trees require periodic trimming. To avoid liability arising from branches falling on people and cars, you should be able to demonstrate that the trees are maintained on a reasonable schedule.
Your Primary Risk Management Contact is:

Sue Bedard

Senior Risk and Claims Manager

Phone: 818.709.1570
Toll Free: 855.394.5939
Fax: 916.720.0324