Safety checking your martial arts schoolConducting a periodic analysis of your school's operational policies helps to maintain a safe environment for your students. Key areas to consider include:
This valuable practice lets you know who is in your school at all times, especially if you have a large, multi-room facility. Before you close for the evening, check to be sure everyone has left. If you hold birthday parties or sleepovers, use the sign-in/ out procedure to validate that participants have signed event waivers. For after-school programs, meet the bus when it arrives and list the children's names attending your program. Have the bus driver sign-off that the children were transferred to your care. A sign-in/out procedure can also serve as a list of potential witnesses for claim investigations; this can be important when it is difficult to recall facts about a specific incident.
Hazing typically occurs when tenured students indoctrinate new students into their group. Hazing often leads to child-to-child sexual abuse allegations. Hazing should never be allowed. Your written policy should communicate this expectation to students and parents.
Cell phone use and unauthorized photography:
The use of cell phones, cameras, and camcorders should be prohibited inside your school, particularly in bathrooms and locker rooms. You can provide designated areas, such as lobbies, for cell phone use. Establish specific events and times for parents to take pictures of their children. If you are planning an advertising event that may include pictures of students, obtain a minor's photo release from the children's parents before you use their photographs.
Having a documented safety inspection program is a great way to show you are doing everything necessary to maintain a safe martial arts environment. It's important to perform—and document— the following inspections:
- Hourly: Inspect bathrooms and walkways. Look for and clean up moisture and tripping hazards.
- Daily: Inspect parking lots, parent observation areas, and lobbies for tripping hazards. Make sure floor mats are clean and stabilized, with no separation between adjoining mats. Check punching bags and training gear, and discard any gear that is damaged. Review manufacturer’s recommendations for care and maintenance of equipment and use their guidelines as your checklist.
Once you have established safety inspection guidelines, it is important to conduct inspections as scheduled. Communicate your expectations to your instructors so they can help you maintain a safe school.
This document is intended for general information purposes only, and should not be construed as advice or opinions on any specific facts or circumstances. The content of this document is made available on an “as is” basis, without warranty of any kind. This document can’t be assumed to contain every acceptable safety and compliance procedures or that additional procedures might not be appropriate under the circumstances. Markel does not guarantee that this information is or can be relied on for compliance with any law or regulation, assurance against preventable losses, or freedom from legal liability. This publication is not intended to be legal, underwriting, or any other type of professional advice. Persons requiring advice should consult an independent adviser. Markel does not guarantee any particular outcome and makes no commitment to update any information herein, or remove any items that are no longer accurate or complete. Furthermore, Markel does not assume any liability to any person or organization for loss or damage caused by or resulting from any reliance placed on that content.
*Markel Specialty is a business division of Markel Service, Incorporated, the underwriting manager for the Markel affiliated insurance companies.
© 2023 Markel Service, Incorporated. All rights reserved.