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How to Provide Safety at Unsupervised Gyms

Many fitness businesses now operate as a 24/7 service for their members, with a significant portion of that time unstaffed. This means there is often no supervision by a qualified fitness professional. As a fitness business, there is still a duty of care to the clientele and a legal obligation to ensure a safe environment compliant with workplace health and safety legislation.
man about to lift weights off floor
© CQUniversity 2021

Many fitness businesses now operate as a 24/7 service for their members, with a significant portion of that time unstaffed. This means there is often no supervision by a qualified fitness professional. As a fitness business, there is still a duty of care to the clientele and a legal obligation to ensure a safe environment compliant with workplace health and safety legislation.

We have developed guidelines to assist fitness businesses to manage this risk and ensure a safe environment is provided.

Recommendations for Unsupervised Fitness Facilities

Risk Management for Fitness Facilities

Fitness businesses delivering a service for clients without the supervision of a suitably qualified professional should address the following areas to mitigate risk:

Electronic Surveillance (CCTV)

Electronic surveillance is used to monitor all provision of the fitness facility including both entry and exit points and excluding changing rooms and bathrooms. The surveillance system should include a safety alert system that has the capacity to be monitored by a third party who has the authority to alert emergency services.

Panic Alarms

Panic alarms should be both fixed and mobile (on lanyards), freely accessible, marked and displayed prominently. The panic alarm should be monitored by the same third party who has access to the CCTV footage and has the authority to alert emergency services.

Signage

The facility displays clear signage of safety and emergency and panic response procedures.

First Aid

A suitably equipped first aid kit should be prominently placed and marked appropriately. Signage with clearly marked emergency contact details and a functioning telephone should be kept in close proximity to the first aid kit.

Changing Rooms

Access to a single occupancy changing room and bathroom facilities should be available to the consumer. Changing rooms should have access to a panic alarm and CCTV footage must be excluded from this area.

Modified Equipment

A regular risk assessment on equipment should be conducted and documented. Recommendations for modifications to equipment include the addition of safety bars or range limiters on equipment that may cause crush injuries, and limiting access to dumbbells and kettle bells.

Induction Process

Each client should undergo a thorough induction process that includes:

  • Pre-exercise Screening
  • The facilities emergency response procedures
  • Safe use of equipment and amenities.

Insurance

A business should hold adequate public liability insurance.

Fitness business owners and managers should also refer to the AFIRM Research Manual for more detail associated with duty of care and supervision.

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

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