Are Your Bleachers Safe?
Bleachers are a popular seating choice for spectators, fans, and players to gather in large numbers and view local sporting events, ceremonies, and other community activities. But unfortunately, old and outdated bleachers that haven’t been properly maintained can cause injury and even death. In 1999, there were approximately 22,000 bleacher-related injuries in emergency rooms across the United States. Almost a third of these injuries were as a result of the person falling from or through the bleachers and onto the ground below. A large majority of these falls involved children under the age of 15. Below are some guidelines recommended by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission to help facility owners, maintenance staff, and school officials make sure that their facility’s bleachers are the safest possible.
Having adequate guardrails on your bleachers is one of best ways to prevent falls and injuries. The CPSC recommends that guardrails be present on the backs of bleachers where the footboard, seat board, or aisle is 30 inches or more above the floor or ground below. The top surface of the guardrail should be at least 42 inches above the leading edge of the footboard, seat board, or aisle, whichever is adjacent. Any opening between components of the guardrails or under the guardrail should prevent passage of a 4-inch diameter sphere. If chain link fencing is used for guardrails, it should have a mesh size of 1.25 square inches or less.
Regarding the seating, any openings between the components in the seating – such as between the footboard, seat board, and riser – should prevent passage of a 4-inch sphere where the footboard is 30 inches or more above the ground and where the openings would permit a fall of 30 inches or more. In addition, seat planks should have end caps which cover sharp edges or protrusions, to eliminate possible injury to spectators.
The CPSC also recommends that facilities perform regular inspections by trained personnel, preferably by a licensed professional engineer, registered architect, or company that is qualified to provide bleacher products and services. Inspections and repairs should be thoroughly documented and reviewed regularly.
If your facility is considering purchasing new bleachers, check with your local building inspector to learn which building and safety codes that your municipality requires with regard to bleacher design, materials, placement, anchoring, inspections, and maintenance.
Play It Safe Playgrounds and Park Equipment, Inc. can satisfy all of your seating needs with our full line of Gared Spectator™ bleachers and benches. Our bleachers are constructed entirely of aluminum, with 10” wide anodized aluminum planks and welded aluminum angle framework for superior support and durability. We offer fixed bleachers, as well as tip ‘n roll models with swivel castors for easy transport and storage. Choose from 2, 3, 4, or 5-row models, from 7’ 6” up to 21’ in length, to fit your facility space and application. Chain link guardrail systems are included on our 5-row models, to prevent spectators from falling from the top and sides of the bleachers. GARED recommends anchoring fixed bleachers at all times; contact us for anchoring recommendations based on your specific facility conditions. When you’re looking to replace your outdated bleachers and benches and safety is your facility’s number one priority, choose Play It Safe Playgrounds and Park Equipment, Inc.  for premium spectator seating, always in stock and competitively priced for any budget! Call us for complete bleacher product information, specifications, and more!