BROC U | Issue #4
Manufacturers have gone beyond codes in attempts to enhance bleacher safety.
Mitigate the Risk by Closing off Access
Suppliers of bleachers and other gymnasium components have taken safety a step further, going beyond the code language to help mitigate injury risk with specialized bleacher accessories and innovations. Gymnasium bleachers are widely used in high school football fields and gymnasiums around the country, yet there are inherent safety risks to their use. As a result, more and more school districts are installing vinyl end curtains to protect spectators from potential mishaps. Vinyl end curtains work by providing a barrier, or wall, between the open spaces on bleachers and spectators. They are available either as heavy-gauge nylon curtains, they attach to the bleacher system and move in and out with its telescoping motion.
Reports of Reduced Accidents from Closures
Schools that have installed bleacher enclosures have seen a reduction in the amount of accidents occurring because of open bleachers. The enclosures also discourage vandalism and help protect the bleachers themselves. End curtains have gained increasing popularity among athletic directors within the past five years. "I deal with ADs all the time, and that was one of their needs - to have a product that could close off bleachers to keep kids out from underneath for liability and vandalism reasons, yet not be a pain for the custodians to put up and take down after every game," says Patrick Conlon, president of wall pad manufacturer SportsGraphics Inc., which markets customizable enclosures. "I've had numerous people tell me kids get under there and step on the brakes and bend them, and then the bleachers go in cockeyed and it's a big mess."
Indoor/Outdoor, It doesn't Matter
Bleacher curtains are designed to be used for both indoor and outdoor settings. They can be custom fabricated to the exact dimensions of bleacher seats, and feature sewn hems on all sides with built-in brass grommets. As an added feature, bleacher enclosures come in a variety of colors and can be imprinted with a team logo or mascot to enhance or complement the overall aesthetics of a gym or school field, raising school spirit and giving a well-defined image. For these reasons and more, the use of bleacher enclosures continues to be widespread and are helping to promote safe practices. This is a significant goal and aligned goal for many school districts and the BROC team have been pushing for to maintain the upmost safety in our schools. We must assist in bringing awareness and educating some districts in the benefits of some easily implemented solutions that help improve safety inside our facilities on a regular basis. Until then BROC and its community of schools will continue as a team to spread the encouragement of safety centric planning and when questions surrounding the subject of safety arise be there to field any questions. As a group the goal must be finding minor adjustments that any school or district can take advantage of immediately in their safety and risk management and assist in their implementation.