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7 workplace hazards in a fitness setting

A keen understanding of how to identify hazards in a fitness setting, and the risks they pose is very important. Let's take a closer look.
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All workplaces have hazards that could pose safety issues or include workplace procedures resulting in situations that also may lead to safety issues.

Fitness setting hazards

A fitness facility is no different. In fact, there may be more situations in a fitness facility that could endanger the safety of you the fitness trainer/instructor, other staff as well as clients. The risks to the safety of everyone in a fitness facility is greatly reduced or some hazards eliminated if hazards that pose these risks are identified and dealt with before causing safety problems.

In many cases, the hazards are easily identified and are fairly obvious, such as untidy work areas, damaged fitness machines, torn carpets, unclean change rooms, unmaintained air-conditioning units and so on.

However, identification of cleaning chemical storage risks, biohazard risks from soiled towels, overfilled rubbish bins in exercise areas, slippery floor sources from spills or sweat, for example, are not so easily identifiable. Consequently, the recognition of hazards is not as simple as may appear.

How to identify common hazards

  • Workplace inspection – physical analysis of the workplace environment
  • Process or task analysis – watch what is happening around you as people perform their duties and clients are exercising
  • Review and analysis of past workplace accidents or incidents.

It is also important to remember; some hazards exist temporarily, some hazards are always present and some hazards are created.

Common Workplace Hazards

Physical Hazards

This includes unclean, cluttered or dirty working areas, unsafe flooring, carpets and so on.

Mechanical Hazards

Mechanical hazards involve the unsafe use of any machinery or equipment in the workplace and machines or equipment not in good working condition, or possibly without adequate safety devices installed, such as guards.

Manual Lifting Hazards

This is one of the most common hazards and involves workplaces that require staff to perform duties that involve a significant amount of manual lifting.

Psychological Hazards

The main hazard here is workplace stress from long hours, shift work, unreasonable expectations from management, lack of training, bullying or discrimination. It could also include being exposed to violence from abusive clients, robberies or assaults in the workplace.

Environmental Hazards

This includes a workplace that is too hot or cold, too noisy, lacks adequate ventilation, unsuitable lighting and so on.

Chemical Hazards

Generally, this includes the exposure to chemicals by staff from either using the chemicals (cleaning chemicals most common), or being exposed to the chemicals from someone else using chemicals, or a process that uses chemicals.

Biological Hazards

This is exposure to illness or disease from other staff or clients and would include exposure to tainted blood, bodily fluids, vomit, faeces, needles and so on.

Once we have identified or recognised that there is a hazard present there has to be some evaluation of the presented risk and what needs to be done to eliminate the risk or at the very least, minimise the risk.

© CQUniversity 2021
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Personal Trainer's Toolkit: Workplace Health and Safety in a Fitness Setting

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