Sporting events bring together some of the largest crowds. With annual inspections, you can be assured that your grandstands and bleachers will continue to be safe, comfortable, and reliable.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission completed a roundtable meeting on bleacher safety in 1999. The report concluded:
- At least 19 deaths involving falls from bleachers from 1991 to 1999; four of them were children under the age of 15.
- In 1999 alone, there were over 22,000 bleacher-related injuries, requiring emergency room treatment, with 28% of those injuries as the result of falls from the bleachers onto a surface below. There were 4,910 falls that involved children under the age of 15.
Serious injuries typically result from falls between seats and floorboards and in between guardrails. Renovations would have prevented many of those deaths and injuries. Repairs and the installation of non-skid surfaces on floorboards, stairs, and walkways would also have reduced slips and trips, two of the other leading causes of injuries in bleachers.
Although infrequent, there is also the danger of a section of the bleachers collapsing. This can occur from design errors, improper installation or setup, missing fittings or fasteners, deterioration or corrosion, sabotage, natural disasters, vehicle-related damage, such as from a forklift, truck, or excessive loading.
Maintenance is critical for safety on bleacher systems. Unless the organization who owns the bleachers is diligent in updating and maintaining these bleachers, accidents will happen.
Needless to say, bleachers represent a huge responsibility, and potentially an even larger financial liability, if there is an accident. Annual inspections by a third party (which is required by code) will help to mitigate the potential liability. A qualified inspector will identify maintenance issues and items that should be brought up to code. This could save the owner millions of dollars in damages, in the event of an injury or death.