0 Fit for purpose

TFit for Purpose Ahere are always risks associated with playing sport, and we've all heard horror stories of bad tackles, twisted ankles and broken legs, and even serious injuries and fatalities associated with unsafe or incorrect use of goalposts and other equipment.

But while accidents do happen, they can also be prevented, and with health & safety a ubiquitous feature of modern daily life, consideration should be given to the ongoing condition of your synthetic sports facility says Technical Surfaces, the UK's leading artificial surface maintenance specialists.

Firstly, the pitch itself must be inspected regularly, to allow for any failed seams or inlaid lines to be identified as soon as possible. Early detection and remedy of failure will minimise the risk of a major trip hazard developing, as well as the associated costs.

On 2nd and 3rd Generation surfaces infill levels should also be frequently monitored, as poor distribution or incorrect amounts of sand / rubber can lead to loss of traction, causing players to slip. Similarly, leaf debris and vegetation require regular removal, and bins should be provided for litter to be disposed of correctly. Your maintenance provider should be able to supply you with relevant signage to ensure that players get the most from your facility, and can enjoy it in a safe and controlled manner.

Aside from the playing surface, other potential hazards are often overlooked in a safety review, but are of equal importance to the overall playing experience. The gateway is a highly trafficked area and so needs protection in the form of matting to prevent contaminants from being brought onto the playing surface. The fencing and kickboards are subject to intense wear and prone to vandalism, and damaged areas or protrusions pose a risk of injury to players.

Fit for Purpose BBut it is the often forgotten safety checks of pitch equipment such as goals and nets that perhaps needs highlighting most as a fundamental requirement of any health & safety audit.

The structural soundness of your goals should be regularly assessed, as well as the way the goals are secured in place, as poorly secured goals can overturn, with potentially disastrous consequences for players. Ground anchors and handbag weights can be attached to the goals via a chain, or, alternatively, many goals nowadays incorporate a weighted roller back bar, eliminating the need to use additional weights while also making movement of the goals much easier.

A wide range of goals and equipment designed for use on synthetic sports surfaces is available from Technical Surfaces, whose AstroTech® collection is built to exacting standards in both its manufacture and design, ensuring it conforms to the latest British and European standards.

Health & safety issues such as unsecured equipment damaged fencing or loose carpet seams should always be taken seriously. For professional advice on making your synthetic sports facility safe for use, speak to your maintenance provider to arrange a detailed inspection. Alternatively call Technical Surfaces now on 08702 400 700 and ask to speak to a Technical Manager or visit www.technicalsurfaces.co.uk

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