The number of people joining gyms has increasing in recent years as the population becomes more health conscious – almost 4.5 million adults in the UK are members of a gym or fitness club.
At this time of year everyone is thinking back to the food and alcohol they over-indulged in during the holiday season and making their resolutions to lose weight and eat healthily. Although the gym is a great way to get fit and healthy there are people who’ve found that visiting the gym was a danger to their health, not realizing there was a risk of serious injury involved when using the equipment and pool.
Gyms and leisure centers have certain obligations to ensure that anyone using their facilities is properly trained and safe, and are legally obliged to maintain the gym area and equipment to high levels of safety. Many accidents occur because of faulty equipment or hazardous conditions around the gym, most of which can be avoid with some care and attention.
When you first sign up to use a new gym or leisure center, it’s usually compulsory to attend an induction and read through some health and safety rules before you can use any of the equipment on offer. This is simply to make sure you understand the risks of using different machinery and how to use them correctly, whilst any health and safety training is usually given to cover emergency procedures and general safety awareness.
You should be given a medical questionnaire to fill out when you sign up, to let the staff know of any medical conditions or injuries that may affect your health or safety when operating gym equipment. They would then be able to advise you on any equipment that may not be suitable for you, or any activities you should avoid.
All gym training staff should ideally be first aid trained, or there needs to be enough staff trained in first aid procedures to accommodate the number of gym members. They should also be trained up in general health and fitness, so they can stop you if they spot you performing an exercise or lift in a way that might injure you.
Most gyms should be insured to cover a range of scenarios from fire damage, burglary or serious personal injury. Insurance can be taken out to cover injuries sustained by members and staff alike, and while this is often expensive, it can be useful to cover the company in case of a freak accident (or indeed a fire!).
Insurance is required to cover a range of scenarios from the loss of equipment through to serious personal injury, fire damage or a break in. Therefore whatever the size or type of club it is recommended that you seek professional advice from an insurance company or broker.
Many people have found themselves with long term injuries after using fitness centers, sometimes without having done anything wrong. One instance of injury was during a pole dancing fitness session, where a woman fell off the pole during an upside down maneuver and injured her shoulder. She managed to put in a personal injury claim and sued the gym, which serves as a warning for companies to make sure members are aware of risks and sign paperwork for any similar activities.
Another example of this was when a member using the treadmill tried to turn down the speed but found the equipment faulty. When they tried to quickly exit the treadmill the position of the equipment between other machinery and the wall meant they tripped, fell on their face and injured their leg, resulting in long term complications and some expensive dental work.
Many accidents are a lot less dramatic than this, but can still have dire consequences for the person involved and the owner of the facility. Simply slipping on wet surfaces or tripping over wires can result in severe injury or expensive legal action, which could be avoided by following simple health and safety procedures set out by the government.