Bleacher Safety – What’s Your Risk | Part 2.2: Code Basics Continued – Common Violations

Telescopic Bleachers


We recently noted a trend in our inspection reports that indicates a number of facilities do not utilize their Removable Floor to First Row Aisle Steps. We have heard reasons that range from “we lost a step” to “the steps are heavy and a nuisance to take out and put back each time.” We have even heard that they are a trip hazard (they are not). The reality is, according to the International Building Code, if your bleachers were manufactured with removable first row aisle steps – code compliance dictates that you must use them.

Let’s look at this closer:

406.4 Riser height. Riser height shall be not less than 4 inches (102 mm) nor more than 8 inches (203 mm).

Front Row Aisle Steps in Use

For example, looking at a typical bleacher, the riser height is a nominal 10-inches, thus intermediate aisle steps are added so that each aisle step is a uniform 5-inches. From the floor to the first step, or height of the first rise, it is also 10-inches. A floor to first row aisle step takes that back down to a uniform 5-inches for every step from the floor to the top tier.

Missing Front Row Aisle Steps

Missing Front Row Aisle Steps

Consider this, have you ever walked down the steps and at the bottom you think there is one more so you overestimate your footwork and trip forward? This is similar effect in that if you are descending from the top tier of your bleachers to the floor, you expect the steps to be the same height all the way down and when you take that last step from the bleachers to the floor that is 10-inches instead of the uniform 5-inches, you miscalculate the step height tripping to the floor. This happens on numerous occasions and has led to broken bones, sprains, and law suits. Do you want to take that risk with your students and patrons?

We realize that these steps can be heavy and sometimes awkward to move, but that isn’t a valid excuse when it comes to liability. There is an easy solution though: Hussey Seating Company offers a hinge kit for floor to first row aisle steps that will allow you to simply fold up the steps when the bleachers are ready to be in the closed position. For approximately $60 a step, you can save your maintenance team and athletic director time and save your district by removing unnecessary risk. This doesn’t eliminate all the work, but it keeps your steps attached to your unit for convenient use and storage. You no longer have to worry about your steps going missing or someone taking a fall!

*As a Hussey Regional Service Center, by having us provide this modification to your Hussey Telescopic Bleachers, it does not impact your warranty. We are also able to make this modification for manufacturers other than Hussey Seating Company.