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Safety And Liability

How to Dramatically Reduce Your Risk of Accidents and Lawsuits

Because we live in a litigious society, coaches and physical education instructors not only need to know how to increase athletic performance, they also must take steps to help prevent lawsuits and to ensure they have the best chance of winning if they ever find themselves in a courtroom.

To help make your school bulletproof against weightroom accidents and to help avoid lawsuits, BFS offers schools a Weight Room Safety Consultation (call BFS at 1-800-628-9737 to schedule yours).

BFS regularly covers safety and liability issues in its Monthly Magazine, Bigger Faster Stronger. In addition, instruction on safety methods are offered in BFS Weight Room Safety Certifications and in BFS Camps and Clinics.

Go to Safety and Liability Manual PDF Download
Click Here for FREE Safety and Liability Manual PDF Download

Over its history spannning more than 35 years BFS has developed the BFS Safety Package that will enable you to get started immediately with improving weightroom safety and reducing your liability.


"In the past, lawsuits against coaches happened, but certainly not at the rate weíre seeing now. Today, parents of athletes are not content to just sit back and look at coaches as if they couldnít do anything wrong."

Marc Rabinoff, Ed.D.
Full Professor, Department of HPSLS
Metropolitan State College of Denver
Denver, Colorado

Safety and Liability In-Depth Information

Lawsuits against weight training instructors happen all the time. Thatís a fact. Itís also a fact that 80 percent of the litigations against weight training instructors involve injuries caused by inappropriate supervision. In other words, if youíre involved in a lawsuit, there is an 8 out of 10 chance that the plaintiff attorney will claim that you Ė or your staff, if youíre an administrator Ė were not supervising the weightroom properly at the time their client was injured.

In the area of professional standards, also known as standard of care, there are three basic accusations that a plaintiff attorney will make. They are as follows:

1. You Are Qualified to Do Something and You Did It Wrong.

You made a mistake. For example, you lost your concentration and did not spot a bench press properly, and the result was an injury to the individual performing the exercise.

2. You Didn't Do Something That You Were Qualified to Do and Were Supposed to Do.

For example, if you are trained in CPR and somebody is having a problem in your weightroom who requires CPR and you donít administer it, you could be held responsible Ė especially if being CPR certified is a criterion for you to hold that job.

3. You Did Something That You Are Not Qualified to Do.

You went beyond your area of expertise. For example, if an athlete gets hurt in the weightroom and you decide to set a broken bone, well, unless you have a medical degree, youíre probably going to be in big trouble when you try to put that bone back in place. And this is why I stress the importance of all weight-training instructors acquiring a certification specific to this field. If you canít justify your academic and professional practical background before you walk into a weightroom to coach trainees, donít walk into that weightroom!


In-Service Certification can be scheduled by any school, district or institution and BFS comes to your facility and certifies your teachers and coaches. Learn more about how to get youir whole staff, any one who instructs in the weight room, certified and on the same page regarding maintaining an effective and safe weight training program. Learn more

Regional Certifications are held across the country throughout the year. With over 15 dates and locations BFS is coming to a city near you. Attending a BFS Regional Certification is the solution for coaches and teachers who are unable to to organize an In-Service for an entire school but who understand the need to protect thier athletes and themselves by implementing a program based on safe and effective training. Learn more

One question Iím often asked when I lecture on the topic of weightroom supervision is:
"Why are coaches being sued?"

And the answer I give them is that in about 90 percent of the lawsuits Iíve seen, the primary cause of the litigation was poor instruction. Did the coach teach that athlete how to squat properly? Did he follow appropriate warm-up protocols? Another, which is becoming increasingly common, is "Did the coach use the proper progression for that activity?"

"Weíre not like Don Quixote; we donít saddle up and go jousting with windmills. Weíre not supposed to wander around and try to correct every ill we see on the face of the earth. However, we are significantly responsible for our own activities where we are employed when we put that name tag on that says 'Weight Training Instructor.'"

Marc Rabinoff, EdD
Full Professor and Chair
Department of Human Performance, Sport and Leisure Studies
Metropolitan State College
Denver, Colorado

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