Safety Measures in Athletics

These recommendations should be regarded as guide lines for teachers, coaches, and participants. they should be implemented or amended to suit local conditions, the aim being to ensure safety at all times.

However, all teachers, coaches and participants should adhere to the Athletics Safety measures contained in the the latest version of the Association for Physical Education's publication 'Safe Practice in PE and School Sport' previously published by BAALPE. This reference book may already be available in secondary schools or can be purchased through the association's website

It is recommended that athletics be regarded as a sport for all ages.

There is wide participation by young children and it should be the aim of all teachers and coaches to hold this interest throughout the school and club career up to adult age through the organisation of competition and training which permits wide participation by competitors of different abilities.


Athletics is a sport in which a variety of running, jumping and throwing activities may be taking place at the same time. Very often in training and competition athletes are acting under considerable stress. it is essential, therefore, to maintain a constant awareness of the inherent dangers, and to plan facilities and practices with this in mind.

The responsibility for safety rests with everyone concerned in the development of sport: the officials who plan the initial layout of facilities; the owners and groundsmen responsible for maintaining these efficiently; the teacher and club coach responsible for the supervision of training; and the officials responsible for the organisation of competitions at all levels. Finally, the athletes themselves are equally responsible.

Preparation and progression of training

The teacher or coach should ensure that each new activity and each stage of a new activity is carefully introduced so that the young athlete is made aware of the potential dangers involved, of the necessary safety procedures to be observed and of the rules which must be obeyed. A special obligation rests on the teacher, coach and participant to see that these precautions are carried out during training. It is unwise to hurry these preliminary stages. Sufficient time should be given to the early stages of training so that safe habits are formed from the outset.


In the teaching of athletics much depends on the teacher-pupil relationship and the development of self discipline in all members of the class, club or group. It is only when the teacher or coach has established such trust that activities with an element of danger may be attempted.

Extra vigilance at training sessions or during competition is required where the teacher, coach or pupils are assisting in the recording of standards (judging, measuring, timekeeping, photographing etc). Spectators should remain behind the barrier or watch from a safe distance. There should never be a crowd around the track or field event areas.

Field Events

Although Field events, especially throwing events, can be dangerous unless they are conducted and supervised with care, their suitability as a worthwhile athletic activity for young people is borne out by they hundreds of thousands of throws and jumps that are made each year without mishap.