Risk Management

Risk Management Advisories

FREE STANDING SOCCER GOALS: TIPPING HAZARD


According to U.S. statistics, over the period of 1979-2014 there were 39 deaths and 56 serious injuries reported that were directly related to free standing soccer goals falling over. Incidents are relatively low frequency but high severity.

Typically, the goals are made of metal and can weigh approximately 68-227 kilograms (150-500 pounds).  The impact force of the falling goal is immense. Most often free standing nets are susceptible to tipping due to inherent defects in their design, being top-heavy and installation, lacking appropriate counterbalancing and anchoring.  Inherent deficiencies coupled with incidental stimulus such as wind, contact by participants and soccer balls, climbing onto and swinging from the goals, doing chin ups and moving and repositioning the goals all contributed to tipping incidents resulting in injury and death.

Good design can reduce the risk of tipping. Stability can be affected by using lighter materials on the front and top of the frame and heavier material on the bottom and back of the frame.  According to statistics homemade goals, including those made in shop classes, were involved in a majority of the tipping incidents.

Risk Management Recommendations for Free Standing Goals:

Please note that these recommendations have been directed to apply to portable soccer goals, handball goals and field hockey goals and other similar sports equipment for recreational and school use in both indoor and outdoor settings.

  • Use free standing goals only on level/flat surfaces.
  • Inspect the goal for structural integrity before every use. Replace damaged missing parts, counterbalances and anchoring systems as required. When reassembling ensure structural integrity.
  • Ensure that equipment meets C.S.A. standards.
  • Always securely anchor or counterweight free standing goals.
  • Anchoring systems include: auger-style anchors that are screwed into the ground; semi-permanent anchors consisting of a permanently secured base that is buried in the ground and uses tethers and bolts to secure the goal posts; peg, stake or J-hook style anchors inserted into the ground; use of sandbags or counterweights.
  • To prevent a tripping hazard all anchors, hooks, stakes and pegs should be flush with the ground.
  • Instruct students, teachers, custodians on the safe handling and potential hazards associated with freestanding goals.
  • Use extreme caution when moving a freestanding goal including using an adequate number of appropriately authorized and trained staff.
  • Do not allow anyone to use the goal inappropriately i.e. climbing, hanging or swinging.
  • Place clearly visible safety and warning stickers on the posts and crossbar.
  • When goals are not used, remove the nets.
  • Secure goals when they are not in use by chaining them to one another or to fences or other stable structures in a folded down position. Never store free standing goals in an area where children have access.
  • For seasonal storage fully disassemble the goal.
  • Permanent manufacturers' labels should be clearly displayed indicating manufacturer, address, and year of manufacture.
  • Qualified independent safety inspections should be conducted on an annual basis and following repairs or modifications, and inspection records should be kept on file by user

(REVISED 2015) E&OE
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