Proper inspections are necessary to ensure that a safe facility is maintained for members and guests. Nearly as important as the inspection itself is the appropriate documentation of what was checked and its condition. In case of an incident or injury the failure to properly document becomes crucial because the organization will have no evidence of the measures that were taken to ensure the safety of those it serves.
Some of the necessary inspections should be performed daily, some weekly or monthly, and some only annually, but all are a vital part of keeping your facility safe.
Every organization building should be confirmed to be a safe environment for children, members, and guests prior to each day’s opening. Emergency action plans should be accessible, emergency exits marked and clear of obstructions, fitness equipment in good condition, floors and stairs free of trip hazards. Childcare and aquatic areas should be visited frequently but irregularly throughout the day, and vehicles should be inspected before the day’s use. The goal is to identify and correct any immediate threats to patrons, visitors, or staff. Any hazards identified should be promptly corrected.
Qualified personnel should verify the proper operation of all emergency lighting and exit signs. All boiler rooms, mechanical and electrical rooms, pool equipment rooms, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning equipment, etc. should be checked for proper operation, loose hoses or wiring, improper stor-age, etc. Each piece of fitness equipment should be closely inspected for safety, i.e., loose parts, fraying cables, and proper anchoring. All childcare and children’s programming protocols should be verified to be functioning as intended and in accordance with the guidelines of the governing authority. Compliance with regular vehicle inspection guidelines and maintenance should be monitored.
A thorough inspection of the entire physical plant by qualified staff and/or vendors should be performed. Childcare, children’s programming, and aquatic programs should be reviewed to ensure that existing internal and external guidelines, protocols, and record keeping have been met and that they are still sufficient to meet the current applicable standards of care. A thorough safety check of all vehicles should be performed by a qualified outside vendor.
Standardized inspection and monitoring forms should be developed. They should include a facility opening / closing inspection, locker room sweep sheets, aquatic observations, facility and equipment inspections, emergency equipment inspection, program review form, etc. The Redwoods Group web site (Forms section) contains several examples. All documentation should include a signature and date (including time for forms used daily). It should be maintained at least three years both to allow the recognition of patterns or trends and to provide proof, if necessary, that you did all that was possible to keep your facility, programs, and vehicles safe.