Most accidents at markets involve windblown tents, canopies and umbrellas. We require all vendors to minimize the risk caused by canopies by following rules for canopy safety. Canopy weights must be attached to vendor and market canopies at all times.
All vendors who wish to erect canopies (including umbrellas) at the market, including the set up and break down period, are required to have their canopies sufficiently and safely anchored to the ground from the time their canopy is put up to the time it is taken down. Any vendor who fails to properly anchor his or her canopy will not be allowed to sell at the market that day, unless that vendor chooses to take down and stow their canopy and sell without it. Each canopy leg must have no less than 40 lbs (pounds) anchoring each leg.
In certain inclement weather conditions even properly secured canopies can be precarious. If canopies need to be taken down in the middle of market due to inclement weather, vendors should direct customers to move out of the way so they are not injured.
Canopies are used at markets to shield vendors and their product from sun and rain, but unpredictable winds can come up at any moment creating a safety hazard if the canopy is not properly secured. Sufficiently weighted canopies will have at least 40 pounds per leg. One canopy manufacturer recommends at least 40 pounds on each corner of a 10×10 tent. 50 pounds should be used for umbrellas. Weights for signs will vary depending on the size of sign.
You should always have your canopy secured to the ground. It is not enough to have the tools necessary to secure your canopy on hand if you do not employ them. Strong gusts can come up without warning anywhere, at any time. After your canopy takes flight and causes damage it is too late to decide to secure your canopy. You should assume winds will come. Indeed, they often do.
Always secure canopies. During setup and breakdown periods canopies are vulnerable to wind. Stay alert. During the peak business hours of markets, the mere presence of hundreds of shoppers, along with the tight configuration of all the vendors, creates a disruption in the flow of wind, reducing its force through the market. But at setup and breakdown times, the shoppers are gone, the solid block of vendors is disrupted, and you are at some point in the process of setting up or taking down your canopy. You must be sure to completely secure your canopy as soon as you set it up, and take down your canopy as soon as you remove its weights at the end of the day. Do NOT let yourself be interrupted by ANYTHING in the middle of this process, as a half-secured canopy is as dangerous, if not more dangerous, than an unsecured canopy.
The safety of farmers market shoppers should be the goal of every market’s staff and vendors. In general, outdoor markets are statistically among the safest places in our country. Nevertheless, canopy weights needlessly continue to pose hazards at many farmers markets. Perhaps this is because we are not looking at how we set up our canopies and stalls each day from the perspective of the customer. After all, we are used to being the vendor or manager. But take a minute to really think about it from the customer’s point of view. The average customer is looking at the bountiful tables filled with every sort of fresh fruits and vegetables, processed foods, crafts and so on. In other words, they are looking straight ahead, not down! REV 3/5/17
Canopy weights should be located on the ground and customers are not looking around them. Thus, if the canopy weights are in the path of the customer, the customer will trip over, kick, or entangle with them. Therefore, we need to anticipate this ahead of time, and place canopy weights carefully, using materials that are least likely to injure.
Attleboro Farmers Market Inc. REV 3/5/17