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Warning! Gymnasium Bleachers May Collapse

Release Date: November 29, 1989

Following recent collapses of school gymnasium bleachers, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission wants to warn the general public of this potential hazard and stress to school administrators and supervisory personnel the importance of proper maintenance and correct operation of manual, telescopic bleachers.

Since 1978, 16 known bleacher collapses have occurred involving manual, telescopic bleachers of a type manufactured between 1966 and 1979 under the trade names "Brunswick", "Vecta", and "Interkal". The incidents took place during school activities. Several resulted in injuries to school children that were on the bleachers at the time the bleachers collapsed. The injuries ranged from minor bruises to back, arm, leg and ankle injuries.

Investigations reveal that if the bleachers are not opened properly and/or not maintained correctly, over a period of time, the bleachers may collapse.

It is strongly advised that owners of manual, telescopic bleachers take the following precautions:

- Inspect bleachers for indications of damage, wear and misalignment prior to further use.

- Provide routine inspection and maintenance, at least twice a year, in accordance with the owner's manual.

- Use only trained personnel to open and close bleachers following instructions provided in the owner's manual. DO NOT ALLOW STUDENTS OR UNTRAINED PERSONNEL TO OPERATE BLEACHERS.

- Install bleacher guard rails as a safety precaution and as an indication that the bleachers are fully extended.

A direct mailing program is underway in which school administrators are being warned of this potential hazard. Owners of bleachers with problems or questions are directed to call (616) 349-1521.

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About the U.S. CPSC
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risk of injury or death associated with the use of thousands of types of consumer products. Deaths, injuries, and property damage from consumer product-related incidents cost the nation more than $1 trillion annually. CPSC's work to ensure the safety of consumer products has contributed to a decline in the rate of injuries associated with consumer products over the past 50 years. 

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