The following guidelines are designed to support Pole Dance Fitness and Aerial Acrobatics schools , instructors and staff in the industry. It is an attempt to provide, in a simple document, clear guidelines for safe practices and healthy working conditions for you, your staff and your students. It can be used as a tutorial and as a control tool.
Guidelines for a safe lesson
These policies seek to:
- Create and maintain a safe environment for staff and students.
- Be a guide concerning the use, maintenance, and storage of equipment.
- Provide sufficient information and guidance to ensure that we minimize the risks involved in a lesson.
- Protect the health of those in school.
- Ensure that staff is aware of the risks that may affect them or the students and for the measures you take to protect them.
- Ensure that the instructors have the appropriate qualifications and skills to undertake all aspects of the course, that they are aware of their responsibilities and that they are willing to comply with the relevant legislation.
- In case of your absence provide emergency phones.
Maintaining the security of the students and the work environment is the responsibility of all employees. This requires that you are aware of the risks, to know the proper action in an incident and to be able to recognize potential security issues.
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Each member of the teaching staff has the duty to exercise care and take caution in relation to his personal safety but also of his disciples. As part of this responsibility, each trainer should:
- Take care of avoiding injuries.
- To follow the necessary safety procedures.
- To inform the school of any risks identified.
- To report any injuries to the owner of the business as soon as possible after the event.
Educators need to be aware of a number of potential risk factors:
- Was there a proper warm-up? Read about the importance and benefits of a warm-up here
- Has the student received sufficient training to perform this exercise? The exercises should be adapted so as to match the age, the power and flexibility of students.
- Have there been breaks for rest/water? See the 5 most frequently asked questions for hydration here
- Is this exercise or movement potentially harmful? An instructor must know what exercises or movements are safe to teach and what is potentially harmful, especially if a student suffers from an injury, a health issue or are in a particularly vulnerable stage of physical or psychological condition. It is good practice for instructors, to ask students if there are injuries they should know before beginning the lesson.
- Is the environment safe/appropriate? If you work in an environment you consider dangerous (e.g. in an external or unknown environment) and you are concerned, you should ask what risk minimization measures have been taken. If the company refuses to do testing or not disclose the results then I suggest you leave and try to contact the relevant authorities.
The IPSF Certificate provides a recognised stamp of quality coaching across pole sport across the world.
Accidents and first aid
Ensure that your school is permanently equipped with a full Med Kit.
All accidents must be reported and recorded in a special accident book. If there is no good reason then first aid is not required. However, if there is a serious injury, then the situation should be addressed immediately. The treatment should be administered only by people trained in first aid. Do not offer any drugs or pill of any kind because some people have allergic reactions to medicines. If you have doubts about the seriousness of the injury, call emergency services immediately. It is best to call an ambulance. Do not take the responsibility of carriage unless you be asked by emergency services due to exceptional circumstances.
The correct use of the equipment is vital for minimizing the risks. Each exercise equipment either mobile such as weights, or stable (Pole, Aerial Silks , Aerial Hoop, etc) which is not used, is a potential danger.
The equipment used must be checked at the beginning of the lesson to ensure its safety.
In addition, care should be taken for:
- Storage: make sure that all mobile equipment used, is stored safely after the lesson.
- Reference: Any damage observed on the equipment should be reported immediately for repair or replacement.
- Installation: the installation of the equipment should be complete, correct and safe and always in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Maintenance: care should be taken for the proper maintenance of equipment in accordance with the specifications set by the manufacturer.
- Safety mat: Where needed, safety mat should be used appropriately. Especially in Aerial Acrobatics and the Pole Dancing involving elements of danger, the use of a safety mat is deemed imperative regardless. You can buy a safety mat on Vertical Wise Shop
- Equipment use: make sure that the students are taught how to properly and safely use the equipment.
- Supervision: ensure that no student can access the equipment without supervision.
Checks must be made before students enter the Studio:
- Floor: Ensure that the floors are clean and there are no objects on the floor, especially electrical appliances.
- Environment: there should be sufficient ventilation and temperature are appropriate for the age level.
- Mirrors: make sure there are no broken mirrors.
- Sockets: make sure it is safe without protruding wires.
- Blinds: Check that they are securely fastened.
- Doors and exits: make sure there is no object blocking emergency exits.
- Lighting and switches: Check for burned-out bulbs or damaged switches.
There should permanently be a fire extinguisher on site and the staff should know its position and how to use it.
Ensuring the health and safety of students is a shared responsibility of instructors and employers. You must make sure that your equipment is not likely to cause harm, either physical or psychological, to yourself, to others or to your working environment.
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The likelihood of injury tends to grow:
- During a class in which students experiment with moves that require a high degree of control, strength or flexibility
- When students are tired, stressed or sick
- When wearing jewelry
- When chewing gum
- If space is insufficient for the number of students
- When students have over – trained
- When wearing unsuitable clothing
Where appropriate, in order to minimize injuries, additional personal protective equipment might be required e.g. knee pads.
To reduce risk in your workplace there is a need for proper management and planning. Whether you are a teacher or employer it is important to be aware of your responsibilities.
The information is simplified and generalized and is not intended as personal advice. It is best to read in conjunction with all relevant legislation.
References: Safety Guidelines for the Entertainment Industry by AEIA and MEAA WorkCover NSW Your Body Your Risk Pub. Dance UK, 2001