Therapeutic Recreation Directory

Activity Area Safety Policy (sample)

Policy No. RT - xxx

ORGANIZATION: Recreation Therapy

SUBJECT: Activity Area Safety Policy No.:


In compliance with the Safety Program and Risk Management Policy, it is xxxxxxxx Hospital's responsibility to provide a safe environment for all patients, visitors, and staff. Recreational facilities and equipment will be monitored and/or supervised by the Recreation Therapy, nursing, or security staff. All gym and activity area safety procedures must be followed.


Recreational or activity areas that are maintained and scheduled by members of the Recreation Therapy staff include the Recreation Therapy Kitchen, Arts and Crafts Room, Gymnasium, Weight Room, and the Picnic Shelter.


I. A safe environment shall be maintained within the activity facilities.

1. Activity areas (including the gym and the weight room) must be locked at all times with entry only attainable by key. Patients in activity areas must be supervised by staff at all times.

2. Gym shoes (basketball shoes, tennis shoes, etc.) must be worn at all times when using the gym. Bare feet, sandals, boots, and street shoes are not safe nor acceptable.

3. All equipment breakage and need for repairs are to be immediately reported to a member of the Recreation Therapy staff or maintenance staff.

4. Limit the number of multiple activities within the gym area.

5. Announce to participants of any activity the inherent risks of each activity and of the various safety concerns within an activity area.

6. Maintain strict control over sharp and toxic use by patients. Gloves, goggles, smocks, etc. must be worn as per activity requirements.

7. Hand washing and cleanliness must be strictly adhered to when engaged in cooking activities. Dietary standards as outlined by the hospital dietary policy & procedures must be adhered to at all times.

II. Equipment and Supplies use.

1. Upon use of equipment and supplies (basketball, rackets, kitchen utensils, etc.), return all items to its storage space. Users of the kitchen and picnic area must clean-up the area upon completion of their activity. The popcorn machine must also be cleaned up after each use.

2. Additional gym equipment are stored in the cage in the men's locker room. To use these equipment, contact a member of the Recreation Therapy staff.

3. The Recreation Therapy staff will conduct monthly safety check on all equipment and supplies in Recreation Therapy facilities.

4. Foods kept in the kitchen must be labeled, dated and kept in closed containers. Foods not labeled, dated, nor kept in closed containers will be thrown out.

5. The kitchen refrigerator temperature will be monitored daily by an Recreation Therapy staff member.

III. Facility use:

1. Gym, weight room, Recreation Therapy kitchen and picnic shelter can be scheduled by patient groups, units, outpatient & inpatient programs, and staff groups. Priority is given to patient groups.

2. Additional scheduling of patient or staff group activities not listed as part of the master schedule must be cleared through the Recreation Therapy staff designated for scheduling.

3. All outside organization not directly connected with xxxxxxxxxx Hospital must obtain permission for use of any activity facilities and equipment from Hospital Administration. All individuals associated with the outside organization utilizing the activity facility must complete and sign the "Visitor Agreement" form prior to using the space provided by Chestnut Ridge Hospital.

4. All individuals from outside organizations who utilize xxxxxxxxxx Hospital facilities must sign in with the Security/Receptionist desk prior to using the facilities. This sign-in must take place each time the individual enters the building.

5. Individuals from outside organizations who do not sign-in at the Security/Receptionist desk or do not behave appropriately while using xxxxxxxxxx Hospital facilities will not be permitted on xxxxxxxxxx Hospital property.

6. Outside groups utilizing xxxxxxxxxx Hospital facilities are encouraged to enter the facility as a group and leave as a group to maintain security and confidentiality of patients.

Recreation Therapy Area Safety Policy attachment

Gymnasium area safety concerns.

Users of the gym must be alerted to the risks inherent to each activity and to the facility itself.


1) Participants should be strongly discouraged from sliding or diving after a ball... rug burns on knees and elbows can result from sliding onto the carpeted floor. Activities that require participants to move on their knees must also be discouraged as such movement also causes rug burns and strawberries.

2) Participants must also be alerted to the concrete under the rug of the gym floor. The flooring does not provide "give" and when users tumbles, flips, or dives after balls, the hard flooring may cause injuries. Wall padding can be removed and used as mats for tumbling activities.

3) Due to lack of sound absorbing tiles and materials, the noise level in the gym can become extremely loud. Participants who have attention-deficit disorders, concentration problems, anger control problems, and hyper-activity can expect their problems to exacerbate. Therefore, prior to beginning gym activities, participants should be encouraged to monitor their feelings and reactions and practice maintaining self-control.

4) Participants must be warned of the close proximity of the gym walls to the play area.

5) The volleyball net and crank have inherent risks that must be addressed. Participants have cut their hands and fingers when swatting at a ball, missing and hitting the net. Individuals have severely injured their hands when cranking the crank without the safety latch in place and having the crank unwind quickly. Staff must instruct the participants as to the proper use of the volleyball standard crank before they can use the crank.

6) Participants using the weight room must be alerted to the various risk of not only using the equipment correctly, but equipment safety hazards. These hazards include:

a) pins not completely put in place on the weights

b) others standing too close when the lateral bar is in use

c) others standing too close when free weights are in use


1) Engage patients in warm-up activities prior to an intense game or activity. Warm-ups may include stretching, jogging, or playing warm-up games related to the primary activity (e.g., playing HORSE prior to playing a 3 on 3 game of basketball).

2) Conduct training sessions prior to each activity. Teach volleyball skills prior to playing a game of volleyball so that each individual has developed a measure of competence in bumping, setting, and serving without causing pain to their hands and wrists.

3) Alert patients of risks inherent to each activity and encourage participants to accept responsibility for safety of self and others. Promote alertness in the gym. Group leaders should spend time before each activity outlining safe behaviors and going over activity/gym hazards.

4) Spectators of gym activities must be strongly prompted to maintain alertness to keep from being hit by stray balls.

5) Equipment, clothing and other items not in use must be stored or put aside so that participants will not trip over the object.

6) Activity leaders must promote appropriate attire and shoes for the activity. Gym shoes must be worn at all times. Boots, street shoes, sandals, socks only, or bare feet are not permitted. Watches, rings and bracelets must be removed when engaged in activities such as basketball in which physical contact is a part of the game.

7) Because there is often a mix of skill levels, staff must be alert to over-aggressive play by highly skilled & physically stronger players and encourage such players to "take it easy" with players of highly under-matched players. In addition, all participants must be redirected to play less aggressively if aggressive play of any kind is observed.

8) Limits must be set upon multiple activities in the gym. As an example, patients should not be playing a game of basketball, kicking a soccer ball, playing badminton, and doing tumbling within the gym area at the same time.

9) Patients groups using the gym area must be staffed adequately as per unit protocol. Assaults, major injuries, and elopement from the gym have occurred in the past. If patients are using the weight room and the gym area, both areas must be supervised. If only one staff is present, and the staff member chooses to have both areas open, he should position himself so that he can observe activities in both the gym and weight room.

10) Use alternative safe balls or equipment. Since the use of a soft-safe volleyball in 1991, hand injuries have been reduced significantly. Prior to 1991, 15 to 20 hand injuries were occurring from using regular volleyballs. When playing softball in the gym, use of a soft rubber ball and foam bats help reduce risks.

11) The use of common sense and good judgment by staff is required at all times to minimize injuries and incidents in the gym.