Every gym owner and manager should be hyper-focused on safety. The typical gym member is not familiar with proper lifting and exercise methods. The burden is squarely on the fitness center facility, manager and staff to educate employees about workout safety and provide easily accessible safety equipment/gear.
The last thing you need is for a member to endure a painful injury that is aggravated by a delayed response. Matters will be made even worse if your negligence (the lack of due care) is responsible for the injury. Let's take a look at the safety protocols and strategies every gym needs.
Your Gym Safety Checklist Begins With Risk Assessment
Take a walk around your fitness facility. Be imaginative and think about everything that could possibly go wrong. Maybe machines are placed too close to one another. Perhaps machines with heavy weights have not been maintained in years. Maybe a fire extinguisher is missing from a certain wing of your facility. Perhaps water from the locker room showers or sinks has the potential to spread onto the floor and pose a hazard. Once you have identified all possible risks, think about how you can prevent such injuries. Make sure your staff is trained to respond in the appropriate manner to emergency situations.
Mind the Locker Room
One would think the gym locker room would be a laid-back place in which members hang out and engage in small talk following a grueling workout. In reality, the locker room has the potential to cause plenty of harm to members. From slips on standing water to the threat of fire, the spread of warts and physical confrontations, the locker room is rife with threats.
A physical confrontation is much more likely to occur in the locker room as it has minimal, if any, supervision from gym staff members. All it takes is for one bad apple to stir up a conflict with another member. It is prudent to keep a staff member in or near the locker room at all times. He should conduct a security check at least once every half hour.
Your gym's shower facilities should have adequate drainage. It is quite possible for a member to endure a harsh slip and fall due to a clogged drain that causes the pooling of water. Drainage between showers and other facilities should also be free of clogs. Train your staff to look closely for spilled soap, shampoo, gels and other liquids that will make walkways slippery.
If your gym has a pool, it creates the potential for a particularly nasty slip and fall or an even more painful injury. Keep an employee by the pool at all times to ensure the pool deck remains as dry as possible. This employee should be a trained lifeguard and CPR certified. He should keep a watchful eye on the pool and remove all tripping/slipping hazards. Additional pool safeguards include the posting of the proper signage, easily accessible flotation devices and the removal of all mats, hoses and algae.
Lifting and Exercising With Safety
The use of weights and exercise machines can cause numerous injuries. One of the lesser known threats in the context of gym workouts is the spread of germs. Place antibacterial wipes and trash bins throughout your facility. Encourage members to wipe down weights and exercise machines with these anti-bacterial wipes before and after use. Maintaining germ-free equipment will go a long way in preventing the spread of sickness and disease. Post signs that detail the proper lifting techniques and encourage members to use a spotter when lifting particular heavy weights.
Inspect Exercise Machines on a Regular Basis
All exercise machines should be inspected on a regular basis to ensure they are functioning at the optimal level. An exercise machine that malfunctions poses a threat to member safety. The inspection of exercise machines should check for frayed cables, loose cables, damage and pending failures. Your staff should know how to decommission exercise machines that threaten member safety. Make sure service records are updated to reflect dates of inspection.
Placement of Machines
Treadmills should be strategically placed to minimize the odds of a member falling and being thrown into the wall by the machine's natural motion. If it is too difficult to re-position a treadmill, apply padding to the wall behind the machine to prevent an injury should the member stumble and be pushed backward.
Additional Safeguards to add to Your Gym Safety Checklist
- Check each fire extinguisher to ensure it is not expired. Make sure smoke alarms have functioning batteries.
- Verify that each personal trainer has up-to-date insurance coverage.
- Ensure commercial first aid kit supplies are readily available throughout the facility.
- Double check the functionality of your CCTV system to ensure relevant footage can be stored on a memory stick or disc.