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Assessing your martial arts program’s risk management readiness

We encourage you to frequently assess your business for potential safety hazards and risks. Some areas may require daily assessment, while others may require weekly, monthly, or yearly assessments. Record your assessments, establish procedures for correcting hazards, and keep a well-documented file of your efforts related to risk management. Here are a few key checkpoint areas to consider when performing your assessment.

  • Do you have a formal safety inspection process to routinely examine your school and equipment? Does this process include inspecting bathrooms, external walkways, parking lots, and parent waiting areas for potential hazards?
  • Does your equipment safety check include checking sources like the Consumer Product Safety Commission for potential equipment recalls?
  • Is someone responsible for inspection of your facility?
  • Is someone that is trained in both CPR and first aid available during each class?
  • Do you have a plan in place for handling emergency injuries and is the plan reviewed with staff on at least a quarterly basis?
  • Are critical telephone numbers posted by an easily accessible telephone for quick reference?
  • Are there procedures in place to address supervision of athletes by opposite-gender students and teachers?
  • Are there policies in place for managing visitors? Are they clearly posted in visible areas?
  • Do you have a policy for cleaning wet floors?
  • Do you have a plan in place for clearing ice and snow from walkways?
  • Do you require the use of protective equipment including headgear, mouthpieces, foam boots and gloves, groin protectors, breast/chest protectors, and forearm and shin guards for all students during sparring events?
  • Do you review your safety policy annually with staff, students, and parents?
  • Do you review your safety policy annually for effectiveness? If you find additional corrective measures are necessary, do you have a process in place to add them to your current program?
  • Do you have students and parents sign waivers and informed consent agreements annually? Has an attorney recently reviewed the wording in these contracts?
  • Do you require signing new informed consent agreements and waivers when a student progresses to a new belt?
  • Do you review and reinforce class-specific safety rules with each class before it begins?

Additional program assessment areas that can help support a safe martial arts environment are available on the Markel Risk Solution Services website under "Safety checking your martial arts school".