Vol. 1, 2017
Falls from elevated surfaces are a common cause of accidents in a gymnastics facility. While the leading cause of these falls involves gymnastics equipment, falls can often occur from the use of spectator seating.
Spectator seating at gymnastics facilities can take many different formats. Whether it involves chairs, benches or bleachers, having a routine inspection process of these seats can help reduce the risk of injury to spectators.
Chairs should be in good working condition and stable when in use. Chairs that have obvious defects, collapse easily during weight-bearing, or that are unstable when in use should be removed from service immediately. Repair or replace these chairs before they are used again. Align chairs so there is ample space between rows so spectators can move freely without tripping.
Managing Risk in Sport and Recreation: The Essential Guide for Loss Prevention1 offers a series of questions for you to consider when inspecting your spectator seating.
The CPSC recommends that bleachers be thoroughly inspected at least quarterly to identify any structural damage or degradation that could compromise safety. All problems should be corrected immediately. Inspections and maintenance should be carried out in a systematic manner by trained personnel. Documentation of these actions, including the date and signature of the person performing them, should be retained. 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. Records of all incidents and injuries should be retained. This will help identify potential hazards or dangerous design features that should be corrected.
To prevent falls from elevated bleacher surfaces, guardrails should be installed. Once installed, a child should not be able to pass under or through the components of a guardrail. It is also important that guardrails be designed so that they do not encourage young children to climb them.
The CPSC Guideline for Retrofitting Bleachers 2 recommends:
You can visit the CPSC website to learn more about retrofitted bleachers and bleacher safety.
To discourage climbing on guardrails, guardrails should be designed in one of three ways:
Michael Swain is a Sr. Loss Control Specialist for Markel Service Incorporated. He supports Markel Specialty product offerings for gymnastics and other youth program related groups. Michael earned a B.S. from Virginia Tech and holds certifications as an Associate in Risk Management, Senior Claims Law Associate, and has completed the USA Gymnastics University: Safety & Risk Management Certification Program. He has 30 years insurance industry experience.
Think of Markel’s Safety 1st certificate as a report card from your insurance company, giving you an A+ for safety. If your school/studio is selected to receive the Safety 1st designation for 2017, you will receive:
Is my gymnastics school eligible? You can nominate your school if you:
*Note: Schools with an accident medical policy only are not eligible for this program.
||Nominate your school
Come visit us at the Markel booth #755 to talk to us about your gymnastics insurance needs and to register to win a $100 gift card to the USAG store.
The information provided in this article is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as all encompassing, or suitable for all situations, conditions, and environments. Please contact us or your attorney if you have any questions.