A West Virginia baseball league is facing a lawsuit from the estate of a man who was injured, and later died, after falling from a set of bleachers while attending a game. (Full story here). The suit alleges that the victim was seated on the top row of the bleachers and his fall was occasioned by the absence of a safety rail on the bleachers. The lawsuit alleges that the baseball league “failed to conduct a reasonable inspection of the bleachers, failed to provide a safe place for invitees to sit, failed to maintain the premises in a safe condition, failed to correct the hazardous condition and failed to warn invitees.” The town that owns the complex was also sued, but has already filed a claim against the baseball league seeking to recover any damages it may be required to pay.
This situation should serve as a reminder to all leagues that our structures, fixtures and equipment pose potential safety risks. Fixtures and buildings should regularly inspected, repaired as needed, and tagged and secured if they are unsafe. The inspection and lockout procedures should be formalized and not performed in an occasional manner. An association should not rely upon reports of unsafe conditions as the method of monitoring buildings, fixtures and equipment. An officer should be tasked with specific responsibility and an action plan should exist in the event that unsafe conditions are discovered.
At Placek Consulting, our comprehensive risk management plans go beyond simple child protection policies and evaluate a wide range of risks effecting youth sports associations.