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Risk Management

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undefinedWhether you are considering purchasing an artificial turf field or you already have one, you need to invest your time into developing and establishing Best Practices. Every procedure and process should be documented to ensure consistency and professionalism. An adequate risk management program requires that best practices be documented, all usage is logged, and all maintenance/remediation procedures are recorded.

Risk Management Documentation – A risk management program is not about avoiding litigation; it is about tracking and documenting safety. Although this type of documentation is extremely valuable if litigation occurs, the purpose for creating the risk management program is to ensure that all practices and procedures are performed with the emphasis on optimizing player safety. The minimum elements of a risk management program are listed below:

undefined• Usage Log
• Maintenance Log
• Maintenance Certificates (Vendor)
• (RP1) Impact Hardness
• (RP2) Infill Depth and Evenness
• (RP3) Visual Inspection
• (RP4) Anti-Microbial Policy
• Written Best Practice for all procedures and methods


For more information on risk management, please email inquiry@turf-consultants.com.

Recommended Procedures

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Artificial turf has been subjected to rigorous safety and performance testing for decades, but contradictory test methods and reporting requirements exist which have introduced confusion to the process. TURFconsultants has developed a clear and concise testing and inspection regimen that is easy to follow and execute, referred to as Recommended Procedures (RP’s), which outline the testing and inspections recommended for synthetic turf sports field.

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RP1 – Impact Hardness – Impact hardness (shock attenuation) is the amount of energy that is returned to the player’s body upon impact with the surface. RP1 calls for 10 mandatory locations to be tested and 10 additional random locations. The 10 mandatory locations are sport specific.

RP2 – Planarity – Infill Depth – The inspection of the sports field to ensure the surface is level and the infill is consistent in depth. The infill material that is integrated within the fibers of the artificial turf system is the entire cushioning layer to ensure player safety upon impact.

undefinedRP3 – Visual Inspection – Synthetic turf fields are created utilizing various seam attachment methods which are subject to routine inspection to ensure they remain connected. Synthetic turf fields are historically subjected to increased vandalism. Infill can be displaced and damage can occur to the synthetic turf surface of which you may be unaware. Visual inspection of the field surface before every use is strongly recommended to ensure player safety. 

undefinedRP4 – Anti-Microbial Policy – There is no clinical evidence that topical sprays applied to sports surfaces provide any credible and lasting benefit to reduce MRSA and/or Staph. There is evidence that many of the commercially available sprays can be skin irritants to players. In the absence of any credible and clinically established benefit, sprays should not be utilized on any sports field surface. The purpose of RP4 is to pledge that no spray has been applied to the sports field surface that could be a potential skin irritant and if sprays are to be applied then players are given proper notification through adequate signage at the field of play.

For more information on the Recommended Procedures, please email inquiry@turfconsultants.com.

Field Safety - Gmax Testing

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gmax equipmentGmax is the numerical value used to indicate a playing surface’s hardness and therefore the likelihood of player injury upon impact. When a player falls, the impact is absorbed either by the surface, protective equipment worn by the player or the player’s body. The harder the surface, the greater the amount of the impact is absorbed by the player’s body. This rule applies to both natural and artificial turf systems. Natural grass systems are NOT inherently safer than synthetic turf systems. Gmax values may be utilized to determine the need for maintenance, remediation and/or replacement of the sports field surface.

field hardessThe Triax and the Clegg Hammer are the primary Gmax machines available for testing sports fields. While there are numerous manufactures of both types and each manufacturer’s Gmax machine is slightly different, the function and operation is basically the same.

Understanding Gmax value starts with understanding the relevance of the numbers, Gmax math for lack of a better term. Example Gmax readings are illustrated below to provide a few points of reference. Most vendors will agree that a sports field should not be used if the average Gmax value for any tested location on the field is above 150; a value of 200 should result in the immediate closure of the sports field because it is unsafe for play and can cause life-threatening injuries.

undefinedGmax values from a Triax machine:
• 60 – Muddy Grass
• 80 – Minimum acceptable Gmax
• 150 – Acceptable Maximum – Most Vendors
• 166 – Maximum Professional Football
• 175 – Acceptable Maximum – Certain Vendors
• 180 – Packed Clay
• 200 – OSHA – “Will Cause Death”
• 225 – Frozen Grass

For more information on Gmax testing, please email inquiry@turf-consultants.com.

Field Safety

 

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Field safety has always been a priority for sports professionals, facility staff, coaches and players. In that respect, nothing has changed. But, at the same time, everything has changed.

undefinedConcussions, as one example, have been elevated in importance as head trauma and its effects become clear, and as athletes realize that concussions occur with equal frequency on all sports fields. Player deaths resulting from heat related causes are also changing the scheduled times for practices and games throughout the world. The entire sports community is experiencing enhanced awareness, focus and sensitivity to field safety related issues.

undefinedWhen a player impacts the playing surface (the ground), there are three things involved: the player’s body, any protective gear they are wearing and the playing surface. Anyone who thinks the field surface is not a significant and contributing factor to whether or not the athlete is injured has never played sports.

The most recent change is the awareness of the role of natural grass playing surfaces and their impact on athletes’ injuries. While it is true that the synthetic turf surfaces are increasingly popular today, they have been subjected to the scrutiny of performance and safety testing for decades. In fact, rigorous performance and safety testing is a direct contributor to the synthetic turf industry’s evolution. Arguably, today’s synthetic surfaces are safer and consistently perform at a level above previous generations.

undefinedNatural grass surfaces have only recently been held to the same standards as synthetic turf surfaces. Legal challenges regarding players being injured on natural grass surfaces that were allegedly in unsafe condition, have amplified the call for natural grass surfaces to be tested with the same scrutiny that synthetic turf surfaces have been subjected to for over a decade.

It only makes sense that any sports field, regardless of whether it is synthetic or natural, be maintained in the safest state possible. All fields, natural and synthetic, should be tested to verify that the field is indeed safe every time the players take the field and be maintained in the safest state possible. All fields, natural and synthetic, should be tested to verify that the field is indeed safe every time the players take the field.

For more information on field safety, maintenance and testing, please email inquiry@turfconsultants.com.


undefinedTURFconsultants
is the ideal source for information regarding the synthetic turf industry. TURFconsultants provides consulting and  engages in public speaking events as well as offers an opportunity to receive fact-based information and proven tools to assist in  navigating the complexities of the turf industry.

FIELD SAFETY –5 Steps to Get Started

 

FIELD SAFETY –5 Steps to Get Started

undefinedEmpowerment is the key. When it comes to sports field safety, there are many people that need to play a role in the process, but this process must start with you. Whatever your specific role, you must empower yourself and totally commit to the necessity of field safety.

That starts with challenging your own perception, and the perception of others, that a playing field isn’t simply flooring. Modern day athletic terrain is as important to the player safety equation as shoulder pads and helmets.

To properly protect your athletes and your organization against potential legal pitfalls, all field safety efforts must be proactive in nature. If you’ve reached reactive status, it’s already too late.

Here are five simple ways you can improve field safety:

1. Knowledge. The idiom ‘knowledge is power’ will forever ring true, especially as it pertains to field safety. Stakeholders must get educated, and beyond the pursuit of the appropriate knowledge, it’s equally as important to share that knowledge with the full team. Ensuring each constituent iscommittedto optimal field safety is the necessary first step – confirm everyone recognizes the goal.

2. Education. Making sure that your entire team obtains individual training is just the beginning; the reality is, field safety education must be a perpetual commitment. The industry field safety standards are still in their infancy and procedures utilized to inspect field safety are consistently evolving.Establishing a source of current information will be necessary to stay educated.

3. Planning. A field safety plan requires that you establish a protocol that includes usage logs, maintenance logs, testing best practices, incident and injury documentation, coaching checklists, appropriate signage, game day best practices, etc.A comprehensive plan must incorporate scheduling intervals, ensuring compliance and distribution of key documents to all constituents.

4. Prevention. Injuries are going to happen in sports, that’s unavoidable, but we need to take every possible step to prevent them. This includes the health and conditioning of the athletes, the players’ protective equipment, and yes, frequent and consistent testing and inspection of the sports field throughout the entire life of the playing surface.

5. Documentation. The three most important things to do when engaging in risk mitigation are document, document, document. Critical field safety documents and best practices should be distributed and understood by all team members. Establishing best practices and schedules are necessary. Execution is imperative. The only thing worse than not having this type of documentation is having it and not following it.

TURFconsultants can help you achieve all your field safety goals and give you the peace of mind of knowing you have taken every necessary step to ensuring the safety of your athletes. To schedule a free consultation, email inquiry@turf-consultants.com, or for more information, go to www.turf-consultants.com.

Player safety is everyone’s responsibility.

 

 

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Washington Department of Health Finds No Increased Cancer Risk Among Soccer Athletes Playing on Crumb Rubber Fields

 

 



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PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

 

 

 

Washington Department of Health Finds No Increased Cancer Risk Among Soccer Athletes Playing on Crumb Rubber Fields

January 25, 2017 – The State of Washington Department of Health investigated a potential connection between soccer athletes that were diagnosed with cancer and played on synthetic turf with crumb rubber after University of Washington Women’s Associate Head Coach Amy Griffin questioned the safety of crumb rubber usage in synthetic turf soccer fields.


undefinedThe results of the investigation, which can be viewed here, did not find any connection to increased cancer among the soccer players reported compared to what would be expected based on rates of cancer among Washington residents of the same ages. Per the investigation, the “variety of fields and residences suggests that no specific field or geographic residence is problematic in terms of soccer players getting cancer.” The Washington State Department of Health added that individuals should continue to enjoy playing soccer on any surface, including synthetic turf fields with crumb rubber.

“Athlete safety should always be a top priority and we commend the Washington Department of Health on its efforts to protect its players,” said Mark Nicholls of TURFconsultants, a synthetic turf consulting firm specializing in education and protection. “This report confirms what more than 90 other studies have confirmed, that there is no connection between cancer and crumb rubber. Athletics administrators should continue to trust their athletes are safe playing on a surface with crumb rubber.”

 

 About TURFconsultants

With more than 50 years of combined experience, TURFconsultants team is the ideal source for information regarding the synthetic turf industry. TURFconsultants engages in consulting and public speaking while offering customers an opportunity to receive fact-based information and proven tools to assist in navigating the complexities of the synthetic turf industry, including maintenance, vendor selection, best practice development, evaluation, measurement, analysis and reporting. TURFconsultants was created to level the playing field by protecting, educating and advising our clients as their advocate.

To schedule a free initial consultation, email inquiry@turf-consultants.com. For more information, go to www.turf-consultants.com.

 

MEDIA CONTACT

Mark Nicholls

TURFconsultants markn@turf-consultants.com

905-327-5001

 

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