The school weight room can be a popular place for both athletes and general students to stay in shape. Safety is just one of the most important considerations for operating a weight training facility.
An important aspect of a successful weight training program is proper use and care of equipment. The health and welfare of the athlete are at stake. There are also legal liabilities of those who operate the facility. This module will take a closer look at some important guidelines for anyone who handles the facility.
Two football players were working out at a local fitness center where they were both members. They were both experienced weightlifters and had performed the lifts using the same weights numerous times before. One was using 50 pound dumbbells while the other was stretching on the ground. After he was done with his set, he dropped them to the ground.
His friend’s hand happened to be right below the dumbbells, and one of them landed on his left hand severing his left ring finger instantly. The football player who lost his finger was rushed to the emergency room, but doctors were unable to re-attach his severed finger due to the amount of trauma to the area. The young man brought suit against the fitness center for negligence and failure to supervise properly. He is seeking more than $200,000 in damages.
Weight room supervisors must know how to properly use and store weights. This is critical to prevent injuries. Here are some important things to remember:
Injuries from weightlifting, such as the one in the scenario on the previous tab, have increased at a steady pace in recent years. The major causes of injury from free weights come from the following:
From 1990 to 2007, there were more than 970,000 weight training-related injuries throughout the United States. Youths between the ages of 13 to 24 experienced 47% of the injuries.
Keeping the equipment safe is necessary to prevent injuries among students. Here are a few things to keep in mind during inspections:
Inspect all of your weight room equipment for broken or malfunctioning parts. Cables, clamps, pulleys, bearings, weight plates, swivels, bars, and benches should be thoroughly reviewed during a periodic inspection. Inspections should happen more frequently if the weight room is used all the time.
Maintain written records of inspections, broken equipment, and repairs. The form should include both the inspector and the date and time of the inspection.
Clean and disinfect all equipment padding and fabric on a regular basis. There have been many cases of ringworm and other skin diseases transmitted by weight equipment padding that is either in poor condition or isn’t cleaned regularly.
Lubricate all moving equipment joints regularly.
On a quarterly basis, inspect and retighten all bolted frames. If the frames are removed for some reason, check all joints for stability before allowing the equipment to be used.
Cover the weight room floor with shock absorption mats. This will prevent damage to flooring from free weights banging the floor.
For the safety of weight room users and supervisors, it is necessary to post clear, concise, and accurate rules and regulations and always provide students with a written instruction sheet for each lift. Visual reminders, like wall charts, help reinforce proper lifting techniques. If proper training hasn’t happened, don’t let anyone try their maximum weight lift or lift more weight than they can safety handle.
If the weight room supervisor or instructor does not have previous weight training background, schools should consider providing this training to keep lifters safe.
As we’ve mentioned, there are specific safety concerns to be aware of in the weight room. Here are a few supervisor concerns to be aware of:
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