Do Your Homework: Our Heart is Out There

Submitted by Kami Wernimont, Marketing Manager

Watching my son climb up the bleacher steps remind me that at a young age we’re all a bit fearless. At his age, I would race to the top and see how high I could go. Now, knowing what I know, I do a quick scope out the whole bleacher unit, making sure its safe. After all, my heart is walking around up there.

Prior to my start at FEC in 2011, I looked at bleachers much differently. Now, I can drive by on the interstate and at a quick glance know if they meet some of the code requirements. Did you know the reason we pass out the 4-inch basketballs at every trade show? It’s because the gaps in the bleachers must prevent the passing of a 4-inch sphere, roughly the size of an infant’s head. Let that sink in. Our hearts, walking around up there, if the gap is just slightly bigger, they could fall through – and children have. This is one of the many reasons our team is so thorough when it comes to inspections. Our children are up there, playing, naive, and carefree – just as they should be.

Not long ago, someone did a comparison of our report versus another vendor for price and quality comparison. I was shocked to find out that the other vendor stated to them, “oh it’s okay, we can pass your bleachers” without so much as climbing to the top of them. The district already knew repairs were needed, they just needed a full evaluation of what was to be done.

Bleacher safety and code compliance can be a little overwhelming as you pull out the book of codes and references but it doesn’t have to be. Sometimes, it’s just knowing where to look. We’ve made it a bit easier for you – below is an access link to our PDF Bleacher Safety: What’s Your Risk? It takes a village to raise our children, let’s work together to do our homework and keep them safe in all the ways we can.

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Bleacher Safety: What's Your Risk
A Crash Course in Code Compliance

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Bleacher Safety – What’s Your Risk | Part 4- The Why Factor

Bleacher Safety

  You’ve had your inspection, now what? If possible, when the inspector is there, ask questions and spend some time with them. Have the inspector help you understand things that need to be fixed or upgraded and why.  Otherwise, the first thing you want to do is review your inspection report. Make yourself aware of the items that have…

Bleacher Safety – What’s Your Risk | Part 3: “Grandfathered” New & Existing Defined

Bleacher Safety

  Who is grandfathered in? Actually, the term “grandfathered” isn’t used in the ICC 300-2012, rather a facility meets code requirements or it does not. However, there are some code requirements that reference new facilities and some that reference existing facilities. The best place to start is the beginning, so looking at Chapter 1, Application and Administration, we’re reminded…

Bleacher Safety – What’s Your Risk | Part 2.5 – Accessories

Bleacher Safety

  When you’re inspecting your indoor bleachers or outdoor seating, you want to make sure you don’t forget the accessories. These include media platforms, press boxes, ADA ramps, and access steps just to name a few. For outdoor bleachers and grandstands, your Press Box is its own entity and actually needs to follow standard building codes for safety and…

Bleacher Safety – What’s Your Risk | Part 2.4 – Common Failed Items During Inspections: Keeping it Safe & Sanitary

Outdoor Bleachers

  In keeping with the theme of Safe and Sanitary, let’s take a look at outdoor bleacher and grandstands and some common safety hazards. Bearing Surface: You want to make sure your understructure is free of combustibles from unruly vegetation to stored materials. If you do have stored materials that are combustible, you want to be sure to have…

Bleacher Safety – What’s Your Risk | Part 2.3 – Common Failed Items During Inspections: Keeping it Safe & Sanitary

Bleacher Safety

  In Part 2.2, we discussed the two of the more common code violation: gaps that do not prohibit the passage of a 4-inch sphere and failure to use the front to first row aisle steps. In this section we’re going to talk about some common items that should be pointed out during an inspection due to safety hazards…

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…

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

Outdoor Bleachers

  The most common violation, and perhaps the easiest to spot, involves a 4-inch sphere. Why a 4-inch sphere? Think about the members of the community in your bleachers or your grandstands watching the game. Even the tiniest of fans come out to support their big brothers or big sisters. The guidelines behind the 4-inch sphere space allowance were…

Bleacher Safety – What’s Your Risk | Part 2: Code Basics – Inspections

Bleacher Inspections

  As mentioned in Part 1, our primary focus in this series is the ICC 300-2012 which is available for download free. In this section, we’re going to discuss inspections and applicable definitions. Starting with Chapter 1: Section 105 Inspection: 105.1 Required installation and construction inspection states that after the construction or the installation, an inspection shall be performed…