Facilities & Equipment

Some Thoughts on Helmet Risk Management

February 16, 2017

The Ball is in Your Court

Katharine M. Nohr, JD

With all of the discussion about concussion prevention, assessment and treatment, there’s a fundamental reality that’s seldom addressed—the necessity of buckling the helmet chin strap. Helmets are designed to protect an athlete’s skull and will easily become dislodged and not perform as intended if they aren’t fastened properly. The chin strap is designed to secure the helmet to the player’s head to prevent the helmet from falling off and/or causing injury when it is loose enough to be driven into the head with the force of a fall or tackle.

As a certified triathlon official and triathlon safety director, I am constantly surprised at the number of cyclists who wear their bicycle helmets as hats. The USA Triathlon Competitive Rules and the International Triathlon Union rules require that helmet chin straps be buckled. Most athletes comply, but there were always those who violate the rule or, instead, keep their chin straps so loose that they dangle mid-throat. The chin straps would swing with every movement and if they fell, the helmet would surely topple off like a hat or almost strangle them by hanging from their neck. Read more

The Road Map to Successful Facility Management: Part 1

January 15, 2014

Part 1: Human Resource Management

Jimmy Francis
Director, Student Recreation Center
CSU, Northridge

Editors note: This article is the first of a 3-part series. Part 1: Human Resource Management, Part 2: Building and Equipment Management, Part 3: Budget Management.

As a facility manager you can at times feel like a lost tourist in a congested metropolitan area trying to navigate an unfamiliar city. Identifying what to focus on and where to allocate your limited resources (both time and money) can be overwhelming. Fear not, this article contains your road map to successfully managing your facility.

Along the path to successfully managing your facility, a manager must keep in mind three important areas: the people or the human resources you have, the building and the equipment inside of it, and your budget. Successfully focusing on these areas will allow you to position yourself to accomplish your main goal, which should be to create a clean, safe and welcoming environment for your participants.

As a facility manager, not only is it important for you to put your “hard skills” to work operating your facility, but it is also necessary to understand that there are certain core values, or “soft skills,” that will help you to be successful as well. Throughout the course of this article, you will not only learn about the different tools you can use to manage your facility, but you will also gain knowledge about some of the core values that are typically found in successful facility managers. Read more

The Road Map to Successful Facility Management: Part 2

January 15, 2014

Part 2: Building and Equipment Management

Jimmy Francis
Director, Student Recreation Center
CSU, Northridge

Editors note: This article is the second of a 3-part series. Part 1: Human Resource Management, Part 2: Building and Equipment Management, Part 3: Budget Management.

Stop two on our road map to successful facility management involves maintaining the actual building itself and the equipment inside of it. If you are in the field of facility management, you likely enjoy spending most of your time working around your facility tackling the operational and mechanical issues that arise. Let’s be honest, it’s often easier to deal with the building than the people! You can’t always fix a personnel issue with a wrench or duct tape, but I know sometimes you wish you could!

Core values that are often visible in a successful facility manager include someone who is detail oriented, cautious, and responsible. Ultimately your success is going to be determined by your ability to pay attention to the details. Even the smallest details can’t be left in your rear view mirror, but rather need to be attended to as soon as possible. As a facility manager it is also your role to be cautious by nature. You are often the person most responsible for identifying, reducing, and/or eliminating liability concerns in the facility. Safety should always be on the forefront of your mind.

Lastly, as a facility manager you must always be responsible for the condition of the facility, the staff’s performance, and the users’ experiences. If you are walking by trash on the ground, ignoring scratches on the wall, not reporting maintenance issues, and not holding staff accountable, who will? You must also be ready to step up in times of need and when emergencies arise. At times you, and you alone, will be the one who is figuring out how to fix the disaster that just occurred. Read more

The Road Map to Successful Facility Management: Part 3

January 12, 2014

Jimmy Francis
Director, Student Recreation Center
CSU, Northridge

Editors note: This article is the first of a 3-part series. Part 1: Human Resource Management, Part 2: Building and Equipment Management, Part 3: Budget Management.

Part 3: Budget Management
It would be challenging to accomplish all the strategies discussed throughout this series of articles without the proper funding. Whether you are dedicating staff to research questions that were asked in this article or replacing a malfunctioning piece of equipment on your fitness floor, those things cost money. In this last major stop on our road map to successful facility management, four aspects of budgeting for a facility will be discussed. There are many different ways to approach the planning and management of a facility budget and there a few important core values of a successful budgeter.

A successful budget manager should be organized and analytical. You must spend time both organizing your budget and thinking about it. Don’t forget that, ultimately, your boss pays you to not only do things, but to think!

Lastly, in the midst of these tough economic times, entrepreneurial thinking can be one of the best qualities a professional can have. Those that specialize in doing more with less and figuring out additional ways to generate revenue from their facility are the ones moving up the ladder. Now that a few core values have been introduced, four areas of facility management budgeting will be discussed.
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So… you want to build a Climbing Wall

May 10, 2012

Heather Reynolds
Climbing and Outdoor Rec Program Coordinator
Dalhousie University

My enthusiasm for climbing was sparked when I was still a University student and I took a Sunday afternoon to go to a cliff with a coworker. After a brief introduction, away I went. As I tried to make my way up this sharp granite face, I can still recall the intense focus and physical challenge of the route. I also remember being so absorbed in the task that I did not notice being afraid. It was intense and incredibly empowering. With a handful of outdoor climbing opportunities, I was convinced that climbing was an amazing experience that everyone should have. Within a year, I was working diligently with Climb Nova Scotia (a not-for-profit organization), a few working professionals and the Dalhousie Department of Athletics and Recreation to get approval to install a climbing wall in the recreation facilities on campus. Through the process of this endeavor, however, many lessons were learned. And still more lessons became more apparent when I eventually returned to manage this wall, and a newer one in the same building. With the responsibility of administering a wall, I gained a new insight into the key elements in operating a safe and successful facility.

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10 Steps to Spectator Safety

March 22, 2012

The Ball is In Your Court

Katharine M. Nohr, Esq.
Nohr Sports Risk Management, LLC

Hosts of indoor spectator sports have the challenge of providing safe viewing to attendees. In a recent case decided by the Court of Appeals in Oregon, Matson v. Oregon Arena Corp., 242 Or.App. 520, 256 P.3d 161 (2011), the court affirmed a $2,125,000 award of damages to an attendee who sustained damages when she fell 40 feet from a railing in the arena. A jury had found Oregon Arena Corporation (OAC) 50 percent at fault for the injuries that the Plaintiff sustained. The accident occurred when the Plaintiff fell from a railing that enclosed the 300-level smokers’ lounge during a Portland Trail Blazers basketball game at the Rose Garden. Plaintiff alleged that OAC did not post any warning signs regarding the risk of falling, did not have a barrier that would prevent customers from falling and did not implement adequate policies or procedures requiring its employees to warn customers of the danger of sitting on the bench-like platform from which Plaintiff fell. Plaintiff also alleged that the nighttime lighting was insufficient, the bench-like platform gave an impression that it was safe for seating, and that there should have been a video security surveillance system in order to protect customers from harm. The appellate court’s published decision primarily addressed issues regarding jury instructions and did not provide details of how OAC was negligent.
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