NAUGATUCK — Borough education officials will install signs at school playgrounds that specify how old a person should be to use the playscape.
The signs were not prompted by parents who wonder whether their children are old enough to use slides or seesaws; they were prompted by an adult who claims he was seriously injured on a swing set at Western Elementary School.
Edward Negron Jr., now 30, has a pending lawsuit against the borough that he filed in 2009, two years after he says he fell off a swing set he claims was defective. Negron was 23 or 24 at the time of the incident.
Negron said in his lawsuit the swing came free of an eyebolt supporting an S-hook that supports the chain holding the swing seat, causing him to fall to the ground. He said he fractured his left ankle and leg, requiring surgical repair and placement of hardware, and had other physical and emotional pain from the incident.
His lawsuit states he suffered financial losses from medical bills and from being out of work due to the incident. He is seeking at least $15,000.
The lawsuit was brought up at Monday’s Board of Education budget discussion. Borough Controller Bob Butler said there is $20,000 set aside for upgrades at school playgrounds; a majority of that money is going to mulch replacement, while some of it will go toward signs that specify the age-appropriateness of the equipment. The signs were recommended by the borough’s insurance provider.
The lawsuit claims Negron’s injuries, damages and losses were caused by the borough’s negligence for the following reasons:
The eyebolt was badly worn, causing the chain to fall.
The borough failed to properly close the S-hook attaching the chain of the swing to the supporting eyebolt, as required by the Consumer Product Safety Commission Handbook for Playground Safety
The borough failed to use corrosion and/or wear resistant fasteners, as required by the handbook.
It failed to inspect the swings for excessive wear, deterioration, and any potential hazards, as required by the handbook.
It failed to maintain an adequate and comprehensive maintenance program for the swing, and maintain a record of the same, as required by the handbook.
It failed to use a proper surfacing material under and around the swing set, as required by the handbook.
Borough officials said they do not comment on pending litigation.