We know that insurance is always a hot topic for gyms and fitness studios. This week we asked John Tierney from insuremygym.ie to share some tips which should ensure the safety or your members and reduce any potential claims. Take it away John..
There are many types of incident which can give rise to an insurance claim. Some of the most common are: Fire, Burglary or an accident/injury occurring on your premises. Experience shows that the most common type of claims in gyms are due to an accident or injury to a member.
There are a number of steps you can take to ensure the safety of your members:
1. New Members
Make sure new members are given an induction or tour of the gym and ensure that they know how to use the equipment properly. This induction should be documented and signed off by both parties.
Go slow while teaching new forms and using unfamiliar equipment; for weight-training exercises, always encourage your members to perform repetitions to develop muscle memory for correct form.
Make sure all equipments and weights are well maintained and serviced and that records are kept in relation to this. Before using any piece of equipment in the gym, take a minute to examine that it’s working properly. Check free weights for any signs of damage, loose fittings, sharp edges from chips and make sure clamps are on hand for all barbells.
Next make sure you members have an adequate spotter to help throughout weight training exercises. A spotter is essential to prevent accidents and injuries during your exercises. A decent spotter will watch closely through the lift and take control of the weight should you require assistance. Did you know it is estimated that 295,000 people visit the ER every year as a direct result of recreational exercise. Fail to prepare, prepare to fail.
Having CCTV is a plus. If an incident occurs there is a record of what happened. With advancements in cloud technology, it is important that all CCTV footage is retained for a period of at least 30 days. Any relevant footage should be retained on disc or memory stick.
Next is knowing who’s there. Members must scan their cards to enter, and any guests they bring should bring photo ID as part of your policy and have their picture taken. This technology allows the clubs to flag suspicious behavior and keep records. Your gym software should have a customer booking history as part of their features for you to look back on.
4. Certified & Insured
Make sure any self-employed PTs in your gym hold the proper qualifications and carry their own insurance cover.
Whilst trainers should carry their own cover, as the gym owner you are still responsible for the safety and protection of your clients and their guests. A trainers’ policy would would only respond if someone tripped over their own equipment bag, however the more general claims like equipment failure would still be liable by the gym or fitness studio.
Put a proper cleaning regime in place, in the gym area as well as changing rooms, showers etc. Keep a proper record at cleaning all times.
For your members it’s never nice to be slipping on a sweaty piece of equipment that someone else just used. Make sure you members are courteous and sanitary by bringing a towel to wipe down whatever equipment they used. Alternatively provide paper towel and failing that, use a shirt to wipe it off. Make this gym policy. This is considered top of the list in terms of gym goers frustrations.