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The Sports Turf Association feels it is important to make the public aware of some of the safety measures that are necessary for sports turf today. The following suggestions will assist you in attaining better, safer, sports turf . . .
  • Check entire infield and outfield area for hazards such as holes, ridges, swales, culverts, catchbasins, drains.
  • Ensure homeplate is installed at proper grade, to prevent injury to players.
  • Pitcher's mound should be groomed and firmed.
  • All base markers should be checked to ensure they are below ground.
  • Lips (ridges) should not be allowed to form where turf and infield or warning track and turf meet.
  • Turf quality should be groomed, leveled and kept free from compaction.
  • Warning tracks should be kept clean of weeds and granular material added as needed.

Backstops - the key element of a field to safeguard the players as well as adjacent spectators. There are many configurations of backstops. However, the basic function must be maintained.

  • that of keeping the ball within the area of play
  • protecting the spectators
  • protecting others such as on-deck hitters and players not in the game
  • protecting nearby activities from conflict with pop-ups
  • a small mesh fence to deter from any climbing
  • free of any barbs, loose wires or wood splinters

Playing Surfaces for Soccer Fields

  • Check entire pitch for hazards such as swales, culverts, catchbasins, drains.
  • Check for ridges which form when lines are burned in (potential tripping hazard; chalk is better).
  • Inspect for build up of chalk.
  • Goal mouths and centre field should be checked regularly for turf coverage. Bare areas can form lips and become uneven.
  • Other activities should be kept at a safe distance (long jump pits, discus areas . . .).


  • Light standards should be located well beyond the field of play, if close to play they should be padded. Height of lights should be appropriate for age of player. Outfield should be checked at night for blind spots due to poor light distribution.
  • Soccer/football goal posts secured and footings installed below the frost line. Frequently inspected for cracked welds; no hooks should be used to secure nets. Inside height should be measured yearly; height to be consistent with age of player.
  • Check bleachers and player's benches for broken and rotting boards. Welds on frames also inspected regularly.
  • Advertising boards should be well removed from the field of play.
  • Review protective barriers such as wooden slat snow fence, metal T-bars, wire . . .for safety.

Have you established an inspection routine, using written forms to pinpoint hazards and dangers? Ensure an individual is designated for repairs and to follow-up and correct any defects.

Are your personnel trained in preventative and corrective turf and field maintenance programs?

This memo was produced as a public service. For further information, please contact The Sports Turf Association, 328 Victoria Road South, Guelph, Ontario N1H 6H8. Tel. (519) 763-9431, Fax. (519) 766-1704.

Turf Line News February/March 1999

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