Goalpost safety should be of utmost importance to any pitch, and the Code of Practice provided by BSEN16579 gives guidance as to the type of checks that should be carried out on football goals and how often they should be done. Although this is football specific, it is widely considered best practice for all sports.
The responsibility to ensure goalpost safety, and that other sports equipment is fit for purpose and well maintained to the correct standard is down to the facility operator. Facility operators also have a responsibility to their staff (under the Health and Safety at Work Act) to ensure that they are properly trained to carry out the required tasks for which they are employed. The facility providers could find themselves liable if an accident occurs where a member of staff is found not to be competent.
INSTALLATION OF GOALS
- Always use the instructions and recommendations provided by the manufacturer when installing equipment.
- The appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) must be worn at all times. i.e, hard hat, steel toe cap boots, gloves, etc.
- When tall and/or heavy equipment is being erected, it is recommended that scaffolding and/or heavy lifting equipment is used. A risk assessment should be carried out if necessary.
- Installation should only be undertaken by, or under the direct supervision of, trained persons with enough experience and with adequate assistance for the size of goal being erected.
- Goal posts sockets should always be set in concrete.
- The foundation required will be depend on the ground conditions but should always be in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
- If the ground conditions are not known then the minimum concrete block size should be 600mm x 600mm x 600mm, or in accordance to the manufacturer’s recommendations, whichever is greater.
- The base of the footing should be square with the socket depth at 460mm.
- The concrete should be rounded gently away from the socket and should slope downwards at an angle of about 45 degrees.
- On natural surfaces the top of the concrete should be set at least 40mm below the surface, this ensures it stays below the ground even if there is erosion or ground movement.
- The minimum depth that a full size goal should sit in the socket is 300mm.
- When the goals have been safely removed and the sockets are not in use they should be capped to prevent accidents.
- Freestanding goals should be anchored correctly at all times and in accordance with the manufacturers instructions.
- If weights are to be used to anchor the goal the correct number should be employed and always attached – see chart below for weights required per type of goal.
|Type of Goal||Sizes (ft)||Sizes (mm)||Appropriate Specification||Number of Counterweights|
|Full Size||24 x 8||7320 x 2440||BSEN 748||6 per goal|
|Youth Size||21 x 7||6440 x 2130||BSEN 16579||6 per goal|
|9V9||16 x 7||4880 x 2130||BSEN 16579||6 per goal|
|Mini Soccer||12 x 6||3660 x 1830||BSEN 16579||4 per goal|
|16 x 6||4880 x 1830||BSEN 16579||4 per goal|
|Five a Side||8 x 4||2440 x 1220||BSEN 16579||4 per goal|
|12 x 4||3660 x 1220||BSEN 16579||4 per goal|
|16 x 4||4880 x 1220||BSEN 16579||4 per goal|
|Futsal||9.84 x 6.56||3000 x 2000||BSEN 16579||4 per goal|
|Hockey||12 x 7||3660 x 2130||BSEN 750||6 per goal|
- It is unsafe to use any goal if the correct number of anchors are not fitted or if the goals are not restrained by other suitable means. If this is the case, do not under any circumstances use the goals.
- If the goals are unsafe, immediately obtain the extra weights needed by contacting MH Goals Ltd on 01502 711298.
- Goals are required to be anchored or restrained at ALL times, including when standing out of use or when stored.
- All weights/anchors and anchoring systems should be checked prior to each game by the facility provider to ensure that the equipment is safe for use, and that weights and anchors are positioned, attached and functioning correctly.
MOVING AND STORAGE
- Remove all weights and anchors.
- A goal is at its most dangerous when being moved.
- Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions on moving goals.
- Goals should be moved with an adequate number of physically fit and able-bodied people and they should all be trained to use proper lifting techniques.
- A full sized goal should not be moved with less than four adults.
- Goals should not be dragged as this can cause damage to the goal and the playing surface.
- If the goal has fitted wheels these should be used correctly and in accordance to the manufacturer’s instructions. They should also be suitable for the ground surface that the goal is to be moved on.
- Goals with wheels can topple if pushed incorrectly. If the goal has four wheels then is should be pushed by the uprights in a backwards direction. This technique can also be used for 5-a-Side goals that have two wheels.
- Goals not in use should be stored properly and never left accessible, upright or unstable.
- Socketed and freestanding goals should not be left leaning unsecured, i.e. against the side of a building/club house. They should be secured in such a way as to prevent them from failing over.
- If they cannot be secured in an upright position then goals should be left lying on the ground so they cannot fall over.
- Wheeled goals can be left safely secured in pairs, chained and padlocked together, or in a secure compound.
GUIDANCE ON GOAL INSPECTIONS, REPAIRS AND RECORD KEEPING
Regular inspections should be undertaken to ensure goalpost safety, and records should be kept of all checks and maintenance that have been carried out.
- The frequency of inspections should be reviewed in the light of actual events, and if records show that faults are found at each inspection the frequency of inspections should be increased.
- A goal’s strength or stability should never be tested by hanging or swinging from the crossbar.
The BSEN16579 standard sets out guidelines that are the recommended practice for inspection to ensure goalpost safety. The following pages set out different inspection types and an inspection record template for goal post inspections
RECOMMENDED SAFE PRACTICE FOR GOALPOST SAFETY INSPECTION
TYPE 1 GOALPOST SAFETY INSPECTION
Undertaken at least every week, and before any game or training activity. Undertake a thorough visual check of the whole goal and check for the following:
- Loose and missing nuts, bolts, pins and other fixings
- Firm attachment to anchoring points or signs of movement in the sockets
- Broken or missing net fixings
- Any broken cord in the nets
- Bent sections or other damage to any part of the goal
- All identification and instruction labels are firmly attached and fully legible.
TYPE 2 GOALPOST SAFETY INSPECTION
Undertaken each time a goal is repositioned. Undertake all the checks listed under inspection type 1 and:
- Check that the goal has been firmly reattached to all of its anchors
- Check that the anchors are secure
- If weights are used, ensure that they are all present. The manufacturer’s label on the goal should say what weight is needed to stabilise it
- Check that the goal has not been bent or otherwise damaged whilst being moved.
TYPE 3 GOALPOST SAFETY INSPECTION
Undertaken once every twelve months, ideally prior to the start of every season. Undertake all the checks listed under inspection types 1 and 2 and the following:
- Check (every goal) for strength and stability, in accordance with BSEN748:2004 or BSEN16579 as appropriate;
- a goal’s strength or stability should never be tested by hanging or swinging from the crossbar.
REPAIRS TO DAMAGED OR FAULTY GOALS
If a goal is found to be damaged, or if faults are found during an inspection, the goal should be withdrawn from service until the defect is fixed. Goals should be repaired using only the correct parts supplied by the original manufacturer/supplier. Goals should not be modified or repaired by welding or by substituting incorrect parts, as this will compromise goalpost safety.
A permanent identification label should be attached to every goal. On receipt/installation of a new goal, a log book should be established to record when the goal was purchased and first erected, together with how it was installed and how it is maintained. The log book should be kept for a minimum of 21 years to ensure that evidence of good practice is available in the event of any subsequent legal proceedings (a record sheet is included with the Safety and Maintenance Guide below).
A warning sign that summarises the dangers of not installing, securing or using goals correctly should be displayed on or near every pitch or sports hall where goals are used.
Download our full Goalpost Safety and Maintenance Guide with inspection sheet template here.