All the football equipment we supply is manufactured to the most rigorous standards and all follow the European safety standards where appropriate. We manufacture free standing goalposts as light as possible as we feel these are much safer option around children. We do not supply heavy steel free standing football goals as we consider these to be dangerous.
It is crucial that the end user should take responsibility for the installation and correct use of all goal post products. Users should follow the relevant guidelines and pay particular attention to the care and maintenance instructions provided. In particular heavier free standing moveable goalposts must be adequately anchored at all times in use , during storage, Installation or movement. Installation should always be carried out under the supervision of a competent person using due diligence and risk assessment. Installation of sockets must be solid, not allow any movement and installaation shoukd be carried out by appropriately qualified personnel with grounds care experience. Children should not be allowed to assemble or move goalpost products under any circumstances. Do not install socketed goalposts with children present. Any joints on the goalposts including welds should be checked regularly for signs of wear. Any goalposts damaged in any way should not be used and appropriate remedial action should be carried out before they are brought back into use. Paintwork on goalposts should be checked regularly especially steel posts and damage should be treated promptly as set out on manufacturers care & maintenance information. Most of our football goalpost do not have Nuts and bolts however some of the more basic budget goalposts do have them and these should be checked and tightened before each use.IF IN DOUBT ABOUT THE SAFETY OR STABILITY OF AN ITEM OF EQUIPMENT - DO NOT USE IT. You can contact the technical director at ITSA GOAL for help and guidance at any time. (mobile 07974745768)
Safety Goalpost Standards V Safer Goalpost Standards ITSA GOAL are the oldest uPVC football goal manufacturer in the world . They are the leading innovator in football goal post safety and design. The company was the first goal post manufacturer to represent the U.K. on the European Normalization (CEN) Safety Standards. Prior to this committee being set up no one in the industry had looked into the issues surrounding goalpost safety. The introduction of uPVC football goals for children by our company chairman John Wilson made a huge difference and ensured young children at long last could play football in proportional safe football goals.The EN748 and subsequent BS 8462 safety standards were eventually put in place after the death of Jonathan Smith in 1991 when the BBC program “That’s Life” highlighted the serious injuries caused by heavy and poorly designed goal posts.
Copies of the original portable goal in a bag have emerged including Samba Goals but none have come near to the engineering quality of the original ITSA GOAL post products.The momentum and drive towards safer goals started and we can be proud that the lightweight football Goals we supply have gone a long way towards reducing serious injuries to children around the world. Sadly fatalities continue with heavier goalpost frames that are still in use, and that is why we are fighting to remove all heavy freestanding goalposts used by children.Our company has been involved more than most to try and introduce safer football goals. When you have a distraught mum crying “if only my son had been playing with your goals John he would still be alive” it does focus the mind somewhat. The lessons have still not been learned and other young footballers are still being fatally injured by heavy freestanding goalposts (two in 2012). This is why we have never supplied heavy steel freestanding children’s goalposts and why we feel they should be banned. Even though we have been trying for many years to make changes The British Standards Institute still sets standards that encourages and allows the manufacture of such goalposts. We commissioned a report on the dangers of football goal posts toppling from (Sheffield & Hallamshire University Sports & Science department). The overwhelming conclusion was that the mass of the goal and the falling force generated by that mass from the fulcrum point was the main reason why goalposts cause fatalities. Our mission has been to reduce this total mass on all goal posts and in particular free standing moveable goalposts to a safe limit.
Visit www.itsagoal.net goalpost safety and see the impact testing we do which shows quite explicitly everything that is wrong with the current safety standards that allow heavier goalposts to be included.
This is why we are campaigning to improve and make a radical change to the current safety Standards and persuade the Governing bodies of the sport to step in and ensure dangerous goal posts are not used around children.
We are asking safety to be put before profit. An example is the recent dilution of the standards to allow larger mesh nets. A young three year old girl in York died from head entrapment in a net in 2012. Is a thirty seven pence saving on a mini soccer net really worth it? This is why we are setting up a User Group to allow those that use football goals every week to have some input and say into the safety of Football Goals. Below are the problems we have experienced over the last twenty three years on our travels around the UK.
The main dangers with football Goalposts as we see it are:- 1 – STORAGE OF SOCKETED STEEL GOALPOSTS IN CLOSE SEASON
Socketed heavy steel goalposts being removed from the ground intact (usually as bolts get rusted up and cannot be easily removed) with crossbar still attached to uprights and then stored up against a wall, fence or shed has been the cause of numerous deaths of children. This is extremely dangerous when crossbars are stored to the top and leant upwards. Even intact goalposts when stored with crossbar to the floor can still be dangerous especially when multiple sets are leant and stored together as heavy steel falling uprights can be just as dangerous. Socketed goalposts must be designed to be separated (uprights from crossbars) dismantled, made safe and stored away securely preferably at ground level or as low as possible. They must be designed to ensure they cannot be removed intact. (see ITSA GOAL lockable anti vandal goals)
Socketed goalposts that are bolted need to have the crossbars secured from the sides to the uprights and not dropped onto the top of the uprights and bolted. Goalpost crossbars secured in this way to the side are safer as nuts and bolts cannot be removed without the whole frame being lifted out of the ground sockets which is something a child cannot do without lifting the whole goal frame.
Socketed goalposts that have crossbars that just drop into uprights and only rely on nuts & bolts to keep crossbars attached can be easily undone by vandals allowing the crossbar to be lifted off and dropped and the weight of a steel crossbar is heavy enough to cause serious injury or a fatality. The other common problem with this design is that the ground movement and upright position changes making hole alignment difficult. If numerous socketed goalposts are used then it is imperative that every goalpost upright goes in the right hole at the right end of the pitch at the right side of the goal and on the right pitch every time they are re installed. This is why all over the country goalpost crossbars are not correctly bolted and in some case we have seen dropped on without any nuts & bolts at all. Unlike the anti-vandal goal which allows any upright or crossbar to be used anywhere It only takes one mix up with one upright to ensure all nuts & bolts may be unable to be fitted on the remaining goalposts.
Ground sockets for socketed goalposts need to be secure and lockable in open areas especially council pitches not just left open for rubble or animals or children to step into. Every goal should provide a secure lockable socket cap system that ensures nothing can be put inside and nothing can fall or become trapped inside.
2 –Heavy Free standing steel goals
Heavy steel or Alloy freestanding goalposts toppling forward onto the stomach, head or chest is one of the major problems for children. (See blunt trauma research) The accidents often show this happening whilst goalposts are being set up or moved around and at times when they may not be anchored. We have experience of an accident like this ourselves but as we make light weight free standing goals to our own safe mass nothing more than a slight bump resulted. (See comments from Denis Hickford )
ITSA GOAL are the only football goal post manufacturer pioneering lighter freestanding goal posts.This type of lightweight freestanding goalpost should be the first choice for Junior Football clubs. It seems a ridiculous state of affairs that these are outside the current BSI safety standards yet heavier less practical freestanding goal posts are included.
Strong, sturdy long lasting alloy freestanding goals to a weight/mass that cannot fatally injure a child can be made it just needs the mindset of the rest of the industry to change. We as a company have never had one of our lightweight crossbars bend or break and we argue it is not necessary to use heavy steel post sections for children’s freestanding goalposts.
3 – Hand, Finger, Head, Torso & foot entrapment
Entrapment, especially on swinging hinged sided goal frames is a problem. A business colleague lost three finger ends with such goals when heavy steel sides swung in wards and the goal collapsed on top of him during a game. According to the Football Association’s own report it states hundreds of accidents a year are reported in Accident & Emergency departments that are caused by football goalposts. These accidents must be serious enough to need medical attention so whatever is currently causing these incidents shows why radical improvements are needed to the current BSI 8462 and EN 748 standards.
Folding goals that have sides that dislodge and swing about are unstable and may be unsafe. Buttons, pins and spring sided frames are just not good enough. All side frames need to be securely locked especially around children during play, whilst being moved and when stored. (see ITSA GOAL lockable folding goals)
4– Mitered corner freestanding goalposts-un welded
A number of freestanding goal frames expand apart and leave dangerous sharp corners that need constant tightening and alignment of nuts & bolts. Our influence has meant that many have changed and now weld corners yet the mitered versions are still being sold as they are less expensive to make. Heavy freestanding goals with integral weights or rollers on the rear of the goal frame are designed in such a way that every time they are moved the nets may become entangled, the structure is weakened as nuts & bolts become loose. These goals in our opinion need to be tested over a much longer period than the one minute required in the standards. Integral weighted goals may need better designed frames that do not work apart as the stresses on these freestanding goals when moved is much more than other types of goals. In our opinion a radical re think about this type of goal needs to take place. We do not make or supply such goals and would never have one on our football pitch as it would compact the surface and may well rut and damage the playing surface.
5- Football Goalposts with wheels
Wheels on freestanding goals appear to be inadequate for the job as many just buckle over, puncture or lose a rubber tyre at which time they can leave knife like edges.( see photo on aluminum goalpost section on www.itsagoal,net) We believe that wheels should be always be removed from goalposts prior to play as they are often located in dangerous positions, have numerous finger and foot entrapment areas and players can collide into them and sustain serious injury. Goalpost wheels buckle and bend outwards and collapse due to the fact that freestanding goals are pulled from side to side more than they are pushed backwards and forwards. This is why you see missing wheels, punctured wheels and dangerous exposed wheel brackets.
ITSA GOAL offer innovative lightweight strong freestanding goal frames that can be safely and easily moved by one person. Quick release wheels allow them to be removed during play and these goals also have the added advantage that when wheels are in place it is difficult for them to topple forward.
6 - Free standing Goalposts -Counter balance Weights
The main problem as we see it are sandbags as these can split and the weight can become less than is required to hold a goalpost securely. The actual weight can vary from bag to bag as they are often left to users to fill and secure. Any form of counter balance weight that can change should be discouraged so the use of water and sand should be avoided. These types of weights may leave users with a false sense of security that they are using the correct weight when they may not be. Only weights that cannot be adjusted should be used so that users know the weight is correct at all times.
In our opinion the topple test is far too high for children’s goals which leads to more weights being used than are actually needed and this results from our own experience that users only using two weights on each corner as it is too much trouble to use more. They see that two well-designed weights will do the job if they are sufficiently heavy and are correctly positioned .The topple test in our opinion, if the maximum weight of the goals is reduced, should be much less on children’s goals and should equate to the same force that say four young lads could exert by swinging on the crossbar. This would probably equate that the two counterbalance weights on the rear corners are actually sufficient to do the job but only on the lighter safer freestanding goalposts. At the moment these seems to be happening at clubs any way as it seems to be seen as a sensible on the ground way of doing things.
On the heavier freestanding goal posts over 45 kilos in weight this is potentially dangerous. With lighter safer goalposts that cannot kill the weights would be used on hard surfaces more to stop the goal from moving around rather than to be the main force to prevent toppling.
Counter balance weights can be heavy and they should be designed in such a way as to allow them to break down to the maximum health & safety lifting limits which is around 25Kilos. They should always be stored at ground level if possible.
BS 8462 DOES NOT ALLOW LIGHTER SAFER 9V9 GOALS You may wonder how on earth this has come about that safe goalposts that are just over 18kilos in weight cannot be included within the BS 8462 safety standard.
The reason is due to a UK goalpost manufacturer suggesting to the Football Association that all goalposts above 18 kilos (uPVC mini soccer goals) which are tested to 300N be tested to 1800N the same as stadium goalposts that have sockets placed into concreted foundations.
We could not believe anyone in the industry would suggest that children’s goalposts be tested to such a high level increasing the mass/weight to what we considered to be a dangerous level and we made our views known but they were ignored. The argument put forward is that if the back ground bar is much heavier than the rest of the goal it would prevent it from toppling forward. Freestanding goalposts manufactured in this way then become more difficult to move.
If the frames are constructed in such a way as to be able to move such a heavy weight about without falling apart then this has some merit but at the moment we feel none are constructed in a suitable way to move 180 Kilo ground back frames around.
MAKE GOALPOSTS AS LIGHT AS POSSIBLE FOR CHILDREN? Common sense really and that is the basis of all ITSA GOAL freestanding goalpost design.
Junior clubs do not need such heavy integral weighted expensive freestanding goals they need more practical solutions. The option of using lighter less expensive goals may be taken away in the long run if we cannot change the current BSI standard. If common sense does prevail, the European standards being looked at now with reference from the BSI standard may eventually stop the use of safer lighter goal frames in the UK so it is imperative that this current standard is changed.
We are footballers ourselves designing goalposts for footballers and unlike others that design and make goalposts we have our own sports ground and use goalposts. We need the support of Junior Football Clubs if we are to change the standard before it becomes European Law. and we are therefore trying to set up a user group to give a voice to those using goalposts on a regular basis. Goalpost Owners, Associations, Local authorities & School User Group. With lighter goal frames coaches, teachers and club volunteers can rest assured that if they did turn their back for a moment and a goalpost fell onto a child it would not cause a fatality with children in their care. If you want this you need to speak out now or it may be too late!
The alternative is constant maintenance of heavy goalposts the additional work and dangers of moving heavy frames about, constant wheel problems, levers that are tensioned so much it can strain the wrists to release them, constant punctures, ruts in pitches from moving these heavy freestanding goals around and the worry if one ever did come apart and fall on a child what damage it may inflict.
Although we feel we have resolved many problems set out earlier we cannot make other manufactures change unless the standard is improved and introduces a safe weight limit and reduces testing to around 500 N/600 N on freestanding goals between 18 kilos and 45 kilos in weight.
At the moment it is 300 N up to 18 kilos and 1800 N for any goal above 18 kilos even if it is just slightly heavier than one kilo over…this is preventing the lighter weight freestanding goalposts from attracting Football Foundation grants even though clubs want to use them as it is impossible to make a light goals to withstand 1800 Newtons testing.
This 50% grant may encourage clubs to buy the most dangerous heavy steel goals as the price with grant will be less than any other free standing goals. We would strongly recommend clubs however to avoid these goals and the hard work they will inevitably bring on match days. If you do decide to buy these goals you need to take extra care at all times and make sure everyone at the club is aware of the potential dangers if they fall onto a child! If we succeed in banning these goals then they will eventually need to be replaced. THIS IS WHY WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT! Please join the user group which is free and you may help influence the design of safer goalposts in the future. If you need help with any football goalposts or would like to discuss this matter in more depth just give us a call at any time …we need to spread the word to every Junior club in the UK.
I have just read an article on the new guidelines for goalposts and note that some of your lighter aluminum goalposts do not now meet the current BSI safety criteria. This is ridiculous!
As you know we purchased several goalposts from you over the last five years and to date we have not had a single serious accident or problem with your football goals. We try to stop kids jumping up onto the crossbar, but it is very difficult, especially when away team goalkeepers do it during a game. However, out of all the sets we have, not one crossbar has even the slightest bend in it. We always get complimented on our goalpost and it is a fact that our club appears to have the best equipment in the area. Last year we did have an accident where a goalpost fell onto a youngster. This was because the children started playing in the football goal while it was still being erected. I am pleased to say that although the youngster got hit on the head he only had a slight bump and an ice pack quickly sorted it out. I would also like to lat you know that a few years ago we were sued by a dog walker. We play in a public park and his dog got its leg down a goalpost socket after the socket cap had been stolen by vandals. (not your goalposts I might add) .The dog broke its leg which resulted in hefty vets bills. I’m glad to say that the dog recovered but we had a large claim on our insurance. After this incident we decided to switch to free standing goalposts and fill in all sockets on the park which has proved to be a great decision. This was quite an expense for us but we purchased your freestanding folding goalposts that lock and have not had any problems since. Our goalposts have to be carried nearly 100 yards every Saturday and Sunday and a lightweight goal is essential to make this feasable.The ITSA GOAL posts are the only goalposts light enough and safe enough for a few children to carry them out on their own supervised by an adult.
If the standard is changed we would be faced with purchasing heavier goals in future which is going to affect our finances, as I assume they would be much more expensive, but also would be completely unnecessary.
The goalposts from ITSA GOAL are safe and more than adequate to do the job.
Regards, Dennis Hickford - Woodbank Junior Football Club. July 2012
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