With warm weather on the horizon, it's time to prepare our facilities. We can learn from the accidents that can occur with elevation elements -- here are the top three areas to focus on.
With warm weather on the horizon, people will be getting active. As we prepare our facilities, we stand to learn from the plethora of accidents that can occur – especially when it comes to elevation elements like zip lines, climbing towers, rope courses and more.
When it comes to these elevated elements, the basic standard of safety requires that they be inspected at least annually by an ACCT certified company prior to the start of a season, and again after any storm related events. Indoor climbing walls in particular should be inspected according to manufacturer’s guidelines. In the absence of guidelines, you should have your walls inspected at least every 48 months.
A good rule of thumb for inspections is that a different company should inspect a structure from the one that build it so you can get an objective look at your equipment. Although accidents can occur, as we mentioned before, it’s worth taking them as a learning opportunity to further improve your facilities for the future.
This past summer, we had several key takeaways from our clients’ facilities:
1. The Basics: Setting Up the Area
- All indoor climbing walls should have mats under them
- All persons climbing walls above 10 feet should wear helmets (indoor or outdoor). It should be noted that some auto-belay manufacturers will not allow or discourage the use of helmets. If that is the case follow their guidance
- Climbing walls with auto-belay systems should have staff in the room supervising
- A redundant system should be used for zip-lines and belays (first check with the designer of the system)
- If possible, use a belay device with “assisted” breaking like a “Grigri” device
2. Maintenance & Inspections
- In the absence of manufacturer guidelines, you should have your walls inspected at least every 48 months
- The basic standard of safety for any elevated element requires that they be inspected at least annually by an ACCT certified company prior to the start of a season, and again after any storm-related events
3. Staff Guidelines
- All staff should be trained by either a “train the trainer” or outside agency, and not by an in-house trainer. “Train the trainer” training is Level 2 training
- Train with your staff on emergency procedures
- Know your first aid protocols (NEVER move anyone who has hit their head, face or neck unless in a life threatening situation
- Build or maintain your relationship with your local emergency responders. Let them on your property and practice with your equipment and always show them how to access your property
- Train belayers to pay attention to the climbers at all times
Injuries from elevation elements can be tragic! Train and re-train your protocols, so all who utilize these elements are safe at all times. For more info, check out our whitepaper, "Technology Creates a Safer Workplace."