Ceiling-Hung Equipment Liability: Risks and Prevention

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January 30, 2018

BROC U Issue #7 | Out of Sight Shouldn’t Mean Out of Mind 

We see a recurring problem with ceiling-hung equipment. Since it remains out of direct sight, it gets forgotten about when it comes time to schedule maintenance. Just because it is out of sight, it should not mean it is out of mind. As is common right around basketball season, some equipment begins to malfunction, at which time the phones start ringing to help in a frantic panic not to affect game schedules. If this were more of a focus leading up to game time, some additional attention should be paid toward actively maintaining the equipment rather than being reactive. One key item that tends to become an issue after a lapse in use and back to more frequent use. Inevitably, cables that help raise and lower ceiling-hung equipment can begin to fatigue, pinch, kink, or just wear out. In inspection, these problems can often be identified with a trained eye.

Cables Can’t be a Last Line of Defense

 What does this mean? As is the case in many gymnasiums, the facility can age and be put through the test of time. Additionally, the equipment that resides in these facilities has aged as well. Some equipment or facilities can be 20 and 30 years old and not outfitted with the latest and greatest fail-safe systems that are a requirement of today’s equipment. As a result, ceiling-hung equipment may only be as safe as the cable, keeping it from falling from a closed/retracted position. The risk remains that if the cable is weak and has the potential to snap, then the risk that the equipment falls from the ceiling, potentially damaging the equipment or, worse, anyone in the facility. Such was the unfortunate case in Weeping Water, Nebraska. Some not-so-lucky fans fell victim to the potential risk at stake, having been hit by a falling hoop while watching a wrestling match.


More Can be Done to Improve Safety Easily, Decrease Liability

Not only can regular scheduled inspections prevent potential risk, but some easy and budget-friendly retrofitting solutions can be put in place to diminish this huge risk from being a liability. One way to help mitigate this concern is retro-fitting your equipment with safety straps. In essence, what this does is become a fail-safe for your system. If the equipment cable breaks then the strap break engages and catches the equipment from free-falling. This add-on works like your locking seatbelt in your car; if the fall speed of the equipment exceeds normal speed, it will engage and prevent the equipment from swinging any longer. During normal operation, it extends and retracts with the equipment along the way.

As CEO Rick Baker states in this quick clip, “Many schools today still don’t have safety straps on their equipment,” it really is an easily added feature that significantly improves safety and decreases liability. A quick install and turnaround time can make the world of difference; contact our office at (303) 973-4517 or contact@brocllc.com to really understand the gravity of this risk and how a safety strap or other features can help put your mind at ease. At the same time, many spectators sit below equipment daily in your facility.

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