Safety Rules for 2020 FAQ

October 31, 2019

Safety Rules for 2020 FAQ (released October 24, 2019)

What has changed from last year?
The definitions of what constitutes safety measures such as railings, harnesses, and padding have been expanded. The previous version of the rule only mandated the use of these protective measures and not how they are to be implemented by our participating groups.

What is the change in the definition of a “safety railing”?
The definition of a safety railing has been changed to reflect a new requirement that all railings must now meet OSHA guidelines and be at least 42” high at all points. It has also been defined that if a railing is required it must now surround the participant at least 50%.

Why was the definition of a safety railing changed?
In a few instances, some groups interpreted the rule that any kind of railing, regardless of height, satisfied the rule. A railing that is only a few feet high does not adequately protect a participant should a need arise. Additionally, there were instances of adequate railing in place, but not sufficient protection around a participant. The requirement was also amended to require all railings surround the participant at least 50%.

Why was the definition of a safety harness added?
The previous version of the rule only described the use of a harness without a definition. A safety harness is now defined as a method to prevent a fall entirely a minimum of three feet (3’) from the competition floor. There were instances that would not have prevented injury by allowing contact with the competition floor even though a harness was in use.

Why was the definition of padding added?
The previous version of the rule only described the use of padding without a definition. Adequate padding is now defined as compressed foam padding (gymnastic mat type) or other suitable material measuring at least two inches (2”) in depth. There were instances of other types of materials (pillows, uncompressed foam, etc.) that would not have prevented injury.

Any new interpretations to be aware of?
Yes. The rule requiring adequate safety protection when a participant executing a lift or stunt with another performer while atop ANY prop or structure above six feet (6’) will be strictly enforced.

For example, if one performer is already six feet above the competition floor and lifts another participant, BOTH are higher than the minimum of six feet and must have adequate safety protection. Another example would be a participant elevated only three feet but lifts another participant higher than six feet above the contest floor. In this example, only the participant being lifted higher than six feet would require a harness or padding.

There were instances last year that lifts or stunts occurred without the required safety protection in place. Timing and penalty judges will be instructed to look out for any violations of this rule.

What else do participating groups need to be aware of?
The following has been added to the safety section of the rules: WGI shall at all times have the final authority to prohibit the use or prescribe additional safety requirements of any prop or structure that presents an unreasonable or unacceptable risk of injury or harm to participants or others or potential danger to a competition venue or its property.
It is impossible to adequately foresee every safety situation in a creative environment such as WGI. This provision has been added in the event of a new consideration not previous defined by the safety rules.

What if I have a question about my prop and its’ use?
Groups should consult with the Directors of Color Guard, Percussion, or Winds in the event of any question in the construction and/or use of a prop or structure. Directors should not invest in the creation of questionable props or structures without consultation. These could be disallowed anytime during the competitive season. WGI encourages all directors to clear any questions BEFORE beginning production. No matter how much a group has spent on a prop or structure, participant safety is always the paramount concern of WGI.

Dale Powers, Director of Color Guard
Mark Thurston, Director of Percussion
Wayne Markworth, Director of Winds

Where can groups review the section pertaining to safety in the rules?
Color guard: Section 4.5 beginning on Page 5
Percussion: Section 4.5 beginning on Page 5
Winds: Section 4.4 beginning on Page 4