Incident Puts Stadium Railing Safety In The Spotlight

Posted on August 14, 2013

With football season about to start, an important question should be asked:  are stadiums safe for the fans who watch the games?  Concussion safety has drawn a lot of attention in the media, but a recent incident in which an Atlanta man fell over a railing at an Atlanta Braves game has drawn attention to those up in the stands rather than on the field.

A new report examines the incident and others like it in greater depth to determine if the situations are indicative of an underlying problem.  The article references the Institute for the Study of Sports Incidents’s findings that the past ten years have seen over a couple dozen falling incidents take place.

The United States currently has standards in place for stadiums so that fans can be protected from such hazards.  The International Building Code requires railings on the sides of stadiums and overlooking general concourses to be more than three and a half feet tall.  This is higher than the 26 inches afforded to the area directly in front of seats.

But is this sufficient?  After all, the individual involved in the fall that recently captured the spotlight was 6’6” and thus may have been more privy to falling over the barrier.  But many stadiums actually have barriers that go beyond the minimum levels, and accidents still occur there as well.

If you’re going to a stadium anytime soon, make sure to use caution around railings, making sure not to lean over for a foul ball or for any other reason.

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