Create Safe Recreation Experiences Through Inspection Audits

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Creating Safe Experiences

Keeping your sports or recreation facility safe for both participants and spectators alike should be a top priority in your risk management plan. Of course, you want it to be a place of excitement, fun, and lively competition for all involved.

However, you also have to ensure that the facility itself is free from hazards that may cause accidental harm and injury.

Most sports and recreation facilities have detailed risk management plans that make sure that the facility operates in a specific way that lowers the risk of harm, damage, and loss to people as well as to the facility itself.

One of the first steps that you can take is to do a thorough audit of your facility.

What does that look like?

It means actually walking around your entire facility (every bit of it) and identifying potential risks that may be present. It means imagining what the worst situation could be and then take the necessary measures to prevent that from happening. Every possible scenario should be considered in this process.

For example, is there good lighting in the stairwells? Are the walking spaces clear from tripping hazards? Could those unfastened floor mats cause an accident? Or could that small hole in the field cause a player to break an ankle?

Of course, each facility is unique and there is no one risk management plan that works for everyone. It must be tailored to each specific sports and recreation facility.

With this inspection audit, there are three general steps that you should follow…

  • What are the risks?
  • How severe are these risks?
  • What are some methods of treatment to minimize or even eliminate these risks?

Consider the following examples as ideas to help you identify your own potential risks in your facility…

    Locker Room:

    • How is your locker room security?
    • Is it properly supervised and safe for everyone using it, including minors?
    • Is the walkway to the shower room free from water and soap?
    • How can you prevent slippage in the shower?

    Pool Deck:

    • Is the deck free from algae growth?
    • Are there any visible obstructions, such as hoses on the deck that may increase the risk of tripping?
      Do you see any raised mats that could result in a fall?

    Pool Diving Board:

    • Is the diving board’s fulcrum improperly positioned?
    • Is the dive ladder free from any obstructions?

    Fitness Center:

    • Is there enough room between the use of free weights and exercise equipment to reduce the risk of free weights dropping on someone?
    • Are there users lifting free weights without a spotter? If so, do you have staff available to assist them?
    • Are there warning signs on the walls notifying the members of which lifting exercises require a spotter?
    • Are the cables on all weight machines regularly checked and working properly?

    Outdoor Fields:

    • What is the condition of the ground and playing field? Are there any animal holes in the field that need to be filled?
    • Are the sprinkler covers properly in place?
    • Are the goal post pads and corner posts in place?


    • Are the hand rails secure?
    • Is there too much space between the seats, floorboards, and guardrails that someone could fall through?

    Parking Lots:

    Is there adequate lighting in the parking lots, including the passenger pick-up/drop-off areas?

    First Aid:

    • Is there a qualified first aid officer on duty when the facility is open?
    • Is a telephone available for emergency use?

As you can see, the list of potential risks goes on and on. If you feel overwhelmed at the possibility of injury in your facility, know that it is impossible to eliminate every potential risk related to sports and recreation.

What you can do is establish a solid system of inspection, recording potential problem areas and all necessary corrective actions, and schedule periodic maintenance to ensure the facility is running as safely as possible.


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