Course 570 - School Safety: Athletics Supervision

Safety guides and audits to make your job as a safety professional easier

Weight Room Safety

Weight Room

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.

Storing Weights


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:

  1. Make sure weight plates, bars, and dumbbells are placed securely on racks.
  2. Examine weight locks. If they have become worn, they may slide off and cause weights to fall.
  3. Require weights to be re-racked after every use. Make sure supervisors check for and pick up weights off the floor.
  4. Return all equipment, as well as mats, dumbbells, bars, plates, weight belts, and collars to its designated place.
  5. Make sure all weight stack machines have pins in place, and they are in good condition.
  6. Require all supervisors and athletes to wear proper footwear. No flip flops or sandals.

Weight Room Injuries


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:

  • strains
  • lifting too much
  • improper lifting techniques
  • incorrectly secured weights
  • dropping, hitting, or pinching yourself or another individual with weights

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.

Maintenance Concerns

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.

Instruction Concerns

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.

Supervision Concerns

No student should be left alone in the weight room without supervision.

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:

  • No student should be left alone in the weight room without supervision.
  • Students should not be given a key to the weight room if a qualified instructor isn’t available.
  • Instructors and supervisors should not be lifting weights when they are on duty.
  • Do not allow too many lifters in the weight room at any one time. There are inherent dangers of free weights and machines; therefore, your school should determine the maximum number of lifters at one time.
  • Consider having participants sign a waiver to provide liability protection to the school district. It is important, however, to understand that the waivers don’t hold up in the court of law. They are just used to indicate the individual involved in the activity understands the risks that are inherent to the activity.


Before beginning this quiz, we highly recommend you review the module material. This quiz is designed to allow you to self-check your comprehension of the module content, but only focuses on key concepts and ideas.

Read each question carefully. Select the best answer, even if more than one answer seems possible. When done, click on the "Get Quiz Answers" button. If you do not answer all the questions, you will receive an error message.

Good luck!

1. From 1990 to 2007, youths accounted for _____ of injuries in a weight room.

2. On a _____ basis, inspect and retighten all bolded frames.

3. When should weights be re-racked?

4. When is a good time to workout alone, without supervision?

5. Which of the following is a major cause of injury from free weights?

Have a great day!

Important! You will receive an "error" message unless all questions are answered.