There are six elements to a comprehensive risk and safety management strategy for dance schools and studios.
Proper safety practice begins with risk identification and management. When you understand your risks, you can take preventative measures:
- Create a policy for proper footwear. Too much cushion, or barefoot, is an injury risk. Display your footwear rules.
- Inspect floor daily for wet spots due to leaks.
- Waivers are important to safety in the sense that they help parents and adult participants understand the importance of their own safety education and measures. Consult an attorney on creating a proper, simple, yet effective waiver. It is worth the minimal cost. You may even tailor waivers to participant skill level.
Supervision of activity
Supervision is crucial, especially for studios that need a child and youth risk management strategy:
- Have warnings and disciplinary actions in place for those who break policy.
- Ensure appropriate instructor to student ratios for various age groups and skill levels.
- For any aerial activities, take extra precautions against falls.
Facilities and equipment
A fault in your facility can put you in the position as the responsible party for injuries or accidents. Take measures to be attentive to the condition of your facility and equipment at all times:
- Slip-and-fall: keep floor clean of food, debris, and tripping hazards. Confetti or other materials can make the floor slippery. Use recommended products to clean/wax the floor.
- If you find a leak, determine the origin and mark off the affected area until a repair man arrives.
- Get any wall or ceiling discoloration inspected.
- Never touch sprinkler heads.
Staff education and instruction
Make sure everyone – head instructors, instructors, and students – know their responsibility when it comes to facility rules and procedures.
Emergency response plans
Develop a plan specific to the activities which your studio offers. Plan for all-studio emergencies, such as a tornado, as well as individual medical emergencies.
A plan should have 3 basic elements: 1) tasks to execute, 2) people assigned to execute them, and 3) a document that outlines 1 and 2 in a simple, concise format.
You can run it by the community’s emergency personnel for proofing and to help you identify what equipment you need (e.g., fire extinguishers). For instance, speak to your local fire department for advice and guidance on your facility, such as making sure emergency exit signs are clearly visible.
Once you have a final document, practice it! For example, students and staff should participate in quarterly fire drills.
Proper Insurance Coverage
Finally, make sure you have dance school insurance. Your coverage should include both accident and liability, and be tailored to dance studios specifically. Be sure you have an agent who will walk you through the coverage so you understand it clearly.