STITCH benchmarking tool - first “state of the nation” statistics

One of the most innovative safety analysis products being developed by the sector at the moment is STITCH, which is managed by CIMSPA partner Right Directions.

With a year’s data now collected, Right Directions are starting to look at how the data might be helpful in preventing accidents.

Their update is published below, and scroll down for an interesting summary infographic.


About Stitch


Most accidents are “outside of operators’ control”, according to statistics from industry accident benchmarking platform STITCH.

The online leisure management analysis tool, which captures, collates and aggregates accident and 'near miss' data, has published its first annual findings.

Overarching figures from the ‘STITCH of the Nation’ statistics show that 84% of recorded incidents, such as running into a squash racquet, colliding with a wall during a 5 a side football game or slipping on wet surfaces on poolside, could not have been prevented by the operator.

“The findings make interesting reading and will enable centre managers to review site trends and avoidable accident and incidents against national trends,” said Gill Twell, Head of Group Operations for Right Directions, which created and manages STITCH.

“This report gives operators an insight into the type and frequency of accidents occurring within registered facilities around the entire country and the ability for them to monitor accident trends locally and nationally for the first time. It may also help them put preventative measures and service improvement plans in place to reduce the risks, and track the impact of any action taken. Equally, this kind of insight will be favourably viewed by underwriters and could bring down insurance premiums.”

The figures highlight that 8 to 15 year olds are the group most likely to have an accident within a health club or leisure centre and the top five injuries are bruises, minor cuts, strains and sprains, nose bleeds and head injuries; these tend to be bumps, nothing major.

Hotspot areas/facilities where accidents are most likely to occur are the sports hall, swimming pool, changing rooms, gym and soft play area. The top six causes are contact with an object, contact with a wall or the floor, sporting injury, contact with another person and a slip or a trip.

STITCH has recorded accidents from over 170 Leisure facilities and the initial data shows 96% of accidents related to customers, 3.5% to staff and the final 0.5% to contractors. Of these 3.22% accidents resulted in hospital treatment, but only 0.23% of all accidents recorded were inpatients in hospital for more than 24 hours and only 0.49% of the total number of accidents recorded were RIDDOR reportable.

Right Directions, the quality and health and safety specialist responsible for delivering Sport England’s Quest quality scheme, ukactive’s Code of Practice and the accreditation for the ASA’s Learn to Swim Accreditation, launched STITCH in 2014 with the support of the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity (CIMSPA). The benchmarking platform enables operators to report and monitor the type and level of accidents occurring at health clubs and all types of leisure facilities across the UK.

“This is a really exciting time as it is the first time leisure centre accident data can be analysed and benchmarked in this way,” continued Twell. “The data will give operators and other organisations like CIMSPA and the ASA a real insight into where the biggest risks are within facilities.”

“Our members work hard to minimise the risk of accidents and injuries in the sport and leisure sector and trend analysis through a benchmarking platform like STITCH can only help them to deliver safer activity opportunities to the public,” said Tara Dillon, CIMSPA's Chief Executive Officer.

Right Directions will be releasing more findings from the ‘STITCH of the Nation’ report at Leisure Industry Week in September and data will then be released every quarter, enabling facilities signed up to the platform to regularly benchmark their data against national statistics.

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