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Bleacher Safety Inspections/Code Compliance

The safety of your bleachers is a serious considerationfor your facilities maintenance plan. In a report by the Consumer Product Safety Commission in the Spring of 2001, a study found that in 1999 there was an estimated 22,100 bleacher-related injuries. Approximately 6100 of these injuries were the result of falling from or through bleachers. And, approximately 4,910 of these involved children under 15.

Furthermore, at the time of this study the CPSC was aware of 10 deaths that involved falls from bleachers, four of them involved children under 15.

The best way to prevent these types of mishaps is through proper inspection and maintenance. The CPSC has issued guidelines for retrofitting or replacing hazardous bleachers. They recommend that bleachers be thoroughly inspected at least quarterly. The NYSED guidelines require inspection at least twice per year.

A summary of these guidelines in listed below:

The bleacher experts at YES are equipped to inspect, repair, retrofit or replace bleachers from any manufacturer. We have the components to perform any repair or upgrade. We can also advise on how to bring your bleachers up to current codes, including installation of new decking, adding end rails, installing filler boards or adding aisles and hand rails.

Summary of CPSC Bleacher Guidelines

  • Guardrails should be present on the backs and portions of the open ends of bleachers where the footboard, seatboard, or aisle is 30 inches or more above the floor or ground below. Bleachers with the top row nominally 30 inches above the ground may be exempt from this recommendation.
  • The top surface of the guardrail should be at least 42 inches above the leading edge of the footboard, seatboard, or aisle, whichever is adjacent.
  • When bleachers are used adjacent to a wall that is at least as high as the recommended guardrail height, the guardrail is not needed if a 4-inch diameter sphere fails to pass between the bleachers and the wall. Any opening between components of the guardrail or under the guardrail should prevent passage of a 4-inch sphere.
  • Any opening between the components in the seating, such as between the footboard, seat board, and riser, should prevent passage of a 4-inch diameter sphere where the footboard is 30inches or more above the ground and where the opening would permit a fall of 30 inches or more.
  • The preferable guardrail design uses only vertical members as in-fill between the top and bottom rails. If there are openings in the in-fill that could provide a foothold for climbing, the widest measurement of the opening where the foot could rest should be limited to a maximum of 1.75inches.
  • Opening patterns that provide a ladder effect should be avoided.
  • If chain link fencing is used on guardrails, it should have a mesh size of 1.25-inch square or less.
  • Aisles, handrails, non-skid surfaces, and other items that assist in access and egress on bleachers should be incorporated into any retrofit project where feasible.
  • The option of replacing bleachers as opposed to retrofitting should be considered.
  • Materials and methods used for retrofitting should prevent the introduction of new hazards, such as bleacher tipover, bleacher collapse, guardrail collapse, and contact or tripping hazards.
  • Bleachers should be thoroughly inspected at least quarterly by trained personnel and problems corrected immediately.
  • Records of these actions 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 that the bleachers are fit for use.
  • Records of all incidents and injuries should be retained

Contact YES today for more information at 631-582-5900.