Safety in the Field of Play
Not all athletic or playground injuries involve participants or children playing on the equipment. Anyone in the “field of play” (the general vicinity of the field, court or playground) is at risk of injury if they do not take precautions. In fact, work-related injuries have increased in recent years because of incidents in the field of play. CM Regent has compiled a list of precautions your staff members should take when they are supervising or observing children at play.
Preventing collisions on playgrounds
- Walk around the perimeter of the playground, rather than through the middle of the play area.
- Maintain a wide berth when walking near swings. Not only are you at risk for being kicked, but you may also be struck if a child decides to jump off mid-swing.
- Do not stand near gates — this allows you to avoid collisions with children running into or out of a fenced area.
Safety on the field or court
- Just like the athletes, always keep your eye on the ball, whether it is a volleyball, basketball, soccer ball, football or tennis ball.
- Wait for the activity to pause before bending down or looking away from play.
- Whether you are on a field or court, avoid standing on the end-lines, because you’re more likely to be struck by a ball (or run into by an athlete) in that area than you are on the sidelines.
- If someone yells, “Watch out!” do not look in the direction of the voice. Instead, immediately turn away from the field of play, cover your head with your arms, and hunch down.
- If you are in a gym, try to sit on the upper levels of the bleachers. These are the areas least at risk if players lose control of the ball or of themselves.
- If you need to speak with another staff member or student, move away from the field or court, and avoid turning your back on the activity.
- Stand with your back to a stationary object, such as a tree or wall, to reduce the amount of space you must constantly scan for collision risks.
- If you are standing along a fence (especially behind home plate at a baseball game), do not stick your fingers through the fence. An unexpected flying baseball striking your fingers could result in a trip to the emergency room.
- Assign a staff member to control access points into the field of play so they can watch out for others who may not be aware of what is happening.
Whether you are on a playground or observing a sport or activity, it is important never to let your guard down. Just because you are not participating does not mean you are not in danger. For more risk management advice, browse or our risk control resources.