Safety Alliance Updates Code of Standards

The NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance has updated its code of standards.

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association Safety and Integrity Alliance has updated its code of standards to add more protocol for jockey health and safety, prevention and reporting of equine injuries, and continuing education for industry participants.

The alliance, launched in 2008, began accrediting racetracks in 2009. Tracks accredited in the first year are up for renewal; the NTRA has implemented a new fee schedule for 2011 to encourage participation by alliance-member tracks that haven’t yet applied for accreditation.

In regard to reporting of injuries, the updated code requires members to report equine injuries and fatalities during non-race periods at racetracks. The code requires information gleaned from mandatory pre-race veterinary examinations be recorded in an electronic database, and also calls for post-race veterinary “inspections.”

Discussions among Jockeys’ Guild representatives and alliance committee members brought about new parameters for providing timely and quality medical care for human injuries at tracks. The code “strongly” recommends tracks having designated medical directors or a “reasonable strategy for timely provision of comparable services”; on-site emergency medical staff such as nurses and emergency medical technicians; on-site first aid facilities; and outlines protocol for the transfer of injured riders.

Also, tracks are “strongly encouraged” to develop working relationships with a “trauma level one” facility.

“The addition of guidelines to promote jockey health and safety is the single biggest change to the alliance’s 2011 code of standards,” alliance executive director Mike Ziegler said. “In addition, the code has been made even more rigorous in a number of other areas, including injury reporting, pre-and post-race veterinary inspections, and safety training and continuing education.”

The alliance is soliciting feedback on the 2011 code; respondents can do so by March 9. The updated code is available here.