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WEIGHT ROOMS MUST BE SAFE ROOMS
By Dr. Richard Borkowski
Published: Spring 1999

Weight training is an essential part of any program. It is meant to inspire, increase strength, and enhance self-worth. A well run weightroom can virtually eliminate any potential problem that may occur. Safety must be paramount. You want the participants back. You donít want injuries. You donít want law suits.
This checklist is a compilation of safety tips that should be followed when running a weight training program. You should have this list or a similar list readily available for every weightroom supervisor to review. In addition to this list, there should be a list of weightroom rules posted on the wall of your weightroom for the participants to view and follow. Remember, all rules should be strictly enforced.
A safe weightroom starts and ends with the skill and attitude of the leadership. Make safe weightrooms and programs a priority. This will keep participants productive and safe. It will also lower the chance of litigation.

________________

Dr. Borkowskiís Weight Room Safety Checklis

1. Be present. Supervise at all times. Vigilance is a key to safety.
2. The supervisor must be trained in the area of weight training. Never assign an unqualified individual to this area!
3. Donít give personal training help when you are assigned to supervise everyone.
4. If the room is unsupervised, it should be locked.
5. Check the equipment daily and put it on a maintenance schedule
6. Buy only from reputable dealers.
7. Teach all safety aspects of every exercise.
8. Show users how to take care of equipment.
9. Avoid exposed cables and other trip hazards.
10. Maintain appropriate spacing for exercises. Donít overcrowd.
11. Users must have a physical exam and signed informed consent forms.
12. Make sure users are dressed properly for the activity.
13. Make sure users warm-up and cool-down after exercising.
15. Use all equipment only in the specified manner intended.
14. Replace all equipment, such as collars, pins, barbells and weights to their proper storage area.
16. Check if the lifter is set and balanced, lifts under control, demonstrates good form, knows how to breathe, moves through a full range of motion and constitutes a balanced weight training program.
17. Makes sure everyone knows how to spot. Try to pair partners according to strength and ability.
18. Make sure everyone knows all the rules.
19. Require lifters to inform the instructor of any maximum efforts or lifts.
20. Have water available. Food and other beverages should not be permitted.
21. Instructors must have an emergency plan and have basic emergency care skills, including CPR training.
22. Have a first aid kit and phone available.
23. Require orientation sessions for all new members.
24. Insist all injuries and/or broken equipment be reported.
25. Donít let the weightroom become a ďsocial clubĒ.
_________________

Editorís Note: Dr. Borkowski has published over 200 articles that have dealt with safety and the legal responsibilities of coaches and teachers. He is currently on his 3rd book dealing with this topic. He has coached high school football, wrestling, and rugby as well as various junior teams during his 34 year career. His duties have included the administration of 115 interscholastic teams and clubs, coached by 110 individuals who played over 1200 contests a year. We at BFS are thankful for his support and help.

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