Help reduce slip, trip, and fall accidents from occurring at your gymnastics school

Gymnast on balance beam

Slip, trip, and fall accidents are one of the more common accidents at gymnastics schools/studios. These accidents can occur outdoors and indoors throughout the year. Slip-and-fall accidents are more common during the winter months, mainly when snow and ice are not adequately cleared from walkways and parking lots. You can reduce the likelihood of these accidents occurring by following these guidelines:

Maintain external and internal walkways

Maintaining external walkways involves frequent inspections of the walkways to identify potential situations that may cause someone to slip, trip, or fall.

  • Repair holes in the parking area and remove obvious tripping hazards.
  • Highlight handicapped ramps and tire stops with yellow non-skid warning paint for easy identification.
  • Remove snow and ice from walkways as soon as practical and apply ice melt in areas that might refreeze. Make advance arrangements with your snow removal vendors so sidewalks, parking lots, and walkways are cleared before people arrive. Watch for black ice. This occurs when water melts and refreezes on dark asphalt surfaces, making it difficult to see. Downspouts and areas near curbs can become especially hazardous. Keep ample amounts of ice-melting compound on hand to treat these areas.
  • Maintain internal walkways by removing items that may cause someone to trip, such as gym bags, towels, shoes, and packaging materials.
  • Prevent slippery conditions from developing at entrance areas by placing skid-resistant, absorbent mats at all entrances. Inspect the mats frequently so they do not become tripping hazards. Replace frayed mats immediately.
  • Check your floors frequently. Mop up spills and excess moisture immediately. Post “Wet floor” signs as necessary.

Proactive measures to help prevent slip-and-fall accidents

  • Inspect restrooms frequently; cleaning up debris and wet-floor areas.
  • Apply abrasive tape and surfacing on stairs and handicap ramps or consult a contractor for a more permanent fix.
  • Make sure step riser heights comply with local codes. Shifts in underground foundations and cracks between risers can cause steps to exceed local code heights, creating a hazard. Have a professional contractor inspect your risers.
  • Frequently inspect stairway handrails and repair loose rails immediately.
  • Restrict access to the gym floor where someone can easily trip on mats, the trampoline pit, and anchoring mechanisms.
  • Document your efforts in a daily log or calendar and retain these records.

Bleacher safety

Gyms that offer bleachers in order to accommodate spectators must maintain an added level of spectator safety. This is especially true for telescopic bleachers and bleachers where the footboard, seatboard, or aisle is 30-inches or more above the floor or ground below.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) offers the following guidelines to support a bleacher safety program.

  • Inspect bleachers for indications of damage, wear, and misalignment prior to further use.
  • Provide routine inspection and maintenance at least twice a year, in accordance with the owner’s manual. If you have misplaced the owner’s manual, contact the manufacturer to request another copy.
  • Use only trained personnel to open and close bleachers following instructions provided in the owner’s manual. Do not allow students or untrained personnel to operate bleachers.
  • Install bleacher guard rails as a safety precaution and as an indication that the bleachers are fully extended.
  • Should the footboard, seatboard, or aisle of your bleachers be greater than 30-inches or more above the ground, guardrails should be present on the backs and portions of the open ends of bleachers where the footboard, seatboard, or aisle is 30-inches or more above the floor or ground below.
  • Any openings between the footboard, seatboard, and riser should prevent passage of a 4-inch diameter sphere where the footboard is 30-inches or more above the ground and where the opening would permit a fall of 30-inches or more.
  • Aisles, handrails, non-skid surfaces, and other items that assist in access and egress on bleachers should be incorporated into any retrofit project where feasible.
  • A licensed professional engineer, registered architect, or company that is qualified to provide bleacher products and services, should inspect the bleachers at least every two years and provide a written certification at such time that the bleachers are fit for use. Keep records of these inspections on file.


Reference:

  • Guidelines for Retrofitting Bleachers
  • U.S. Consumer Product Pub. No. 330 Safety Commission 000011 Washington, DC 20207
Gymnast on balance beam
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