Aluminum Bleachers Need Regular Care and Inspection – Use this Checklist

spectators on bleachers with drinks at game

Spectators on bleachers with drinks at game

Aluminum bleachers endure a lot of use, misuse and abuse. How do you keep them safe and sound when you have so many crowds of people walking, cheering and jumping up and down on them?

There are very few structures out there that are subjected to this type of activity. And to add to the danger, a large number of bleachers are outside – subject to rain, sleet, heat and snow. Then you have the food and refreshments factor – people watching a game for three hours are going to eat and drink – and spill and drop food.

Here are some tips to consider to keep your aluminum bleachers in tip-top shape and safe for public use.

  1. Be sure your bleachers comply with the International Building Code (IBC). These codes were created from an amalgamation of different codes and requirements in different states across the country. There’s a reason these codes were enacted – to help prevent the thousands of injuries that occur on bleachers every year.
  2. Inspect bleachers regularly. Look for loose hardware, corroded nuts and bolts, edges that may stick out, welds that might need repair.
    bleachers in disrepair

    Bleachers in disrepair

  3. Make sure your bleachers are far enough away from the playing field so people have decent visibility, but they don’t get hit with baseballs, hockey pucks, soccer balls, lacrosse balls or footballs. At the same time, make sure there is plenty of room for players who run out of bounds. Portable bleachers can be relocated all over facility grounds, but be mindful that they don’t create a hazardous situation.
  4. Make a checklist of aluminum bleacher parts to check – risers, footboards, seat planks, frames, braces, railings, ramps, end caps, etc.
  5. Be sure to keep the bleachers dry and clean. If you are in a heavy-rainfall area, think about making the bleachers more slip-resistant. Another option is to add vinyl bleacher seat covers, which are easy to clean and actually provide some relief from cold or hot weather.
  6. If there are moving parts, make sure they are lubricated properly.
  7. Schools and other facilities can hire experts to come and inspect their aluminum bleachers. These professionals will issue reports to verify the condition of the aluminum bleachers or identify problem areas before they create an injury. Keep these reports on file in a known location for future reference.
  8. Make sure the bleachers are illuminated properly for night games, especially the walkways and stairs to prevent tripping.
  9. If electricity is used in conjunction with the bleachers, for example with lighting, make sure all electrical items such as wiring and junction boxes are inspected by licensed electricians.
  10. Be sure your aluminum bleachers adhere to city, state and federal regulations. (See example from Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry). Check local building ordinances and zoning codes. We have heard stories where an entire grandstand was installed only to find out later that the structure was not permitted by city zoning codes.
  11. If you use portable bleachers, be sure they are secured according to manufacturer specifications and local building codes. When finished, be sure they are stored properly.
  12. Check wheel chair access and other requirements under the federal American with Disabilities Act regarding the size of your facility and number of users.
  13. Strictly follow manufacturer’s guidelines and watch for updates.
  14. Plan for replacement. Aluminum bleachers can be a big-ticket item in a school budget. Be sure to set aside funds on a regular basis for when the time comes to either replace existing bleachers, add new bleachers or purchase portable bleachers to accommodate different events at different locations at your facility.

If you have spectators coming to your school or facility, you want them to have an enjoyable experience. They are going to be spending quite a bit of time on those bleachers during the course of a game and will probably be returning many times as well.

In addition, you also have active youngsters who have a tendency to run and jump instead of walk and sit.

It’s wise to inspect aluminum bleachers on a regular basis to ensure there are no accidents which can cause minor injuries, or if the bleachers are of a significant size, major injuries.

Be vigilant so fans can enjoy an event safely. That will make the event enjoyable and less worrisome for a facility manager as well.

 

 

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This content was contributed by staff at The Park Catalog.

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