It seems that everybody is always on a mission to lose weight and get in shape. One of the ways that this can be accomplished is to join a gym. As a gym owner, you have to keep an eye out for those individuals who are inexperienced with using gym equipment or even just being in a health club environment. Unfortunately, gym accidents happen quite frequently. Such accidents have been alarmingly increasing. Between 2007 and 2010, gym accidents had increased 45 percent. Educate yourself on how to recognize liability issues and guard against potential accidents.
Ensure Your Facilities Are Safe
A brick and mortar business, such as a gym, lends itself to premises liability claims. There are many instances where a patron could slip and fall. Someone might claim to have slipped and fallen where they may have been wet floors, such as a group exercise room or even in the shower area. Any area that is known to be wet should have warning signs stating the floors are wet. If someone suffers a slip and fall in your gym, they can claim that you knew the hazard existed and you could be liable for their injuries.
Maintain Your Equipment
In addition to maintaining the safety of your facilities, you also need to maintain your gym equipment to ensure it is functioning properly. If someone is injured because of broken, malfunctioning or damaged equipment, either you, as the gym owner, or the equipment manufacturer could be liable. Because you are going to regularly encounter newcomers to your gym who don’t know how to properly use the equipment, you must keep an eye out for these individuals. When you discover they have little experience with the equipment, you should suggest they receive help from your staff to ensure they understand how the equipment works. Let them know that gym equipment can be very intimidating when you first start using it. And, if used incorrectly, you can even do more harm than good. This will ensure they will be receptive to help when it is offered.
Watch How You Conduct Yourself
Professional liability is a big concern for gym owners. You are going to have face-to-face encounters with many different people. If you or your staff conducts group fitness and other classes, then it is important to teach such classes correctly and provide sound advice to those in attendance. You can be held accountable for everything you say and do as well as what you don’t say or do. Someone can claim they were injured because you failed to show them how to properly use equipment or the instructions you provided while teaching a class resulted in their injury.
Another concern for gym owners as well as anyone who works at the gym, such as fitness instructors, is the potential for claims of sexual misconduct. Because you are often in close proximity to individuals when showing them how to use gym equipment or showing them how to perform certain exercises, it opens the door for claims such as improper touching or inappropriate language. If you work with minor children, then this risk increases dramatically.
It is the job of gym owners to provide a safe environment in which people can come and get in shape. Therefore, you must always be looking for potential threats to safety. There are several liability issues when you own a gym and it takes hard work and determination to ensure that all who attend your gym are in a safe environment. You have to constantly inspect your facilities to ensure there are no safety hazards. You must have your gym equipment inspected regularly to find and correct any problems to avoid possible injuries to those using the equipment. At then end of the day, the safety of your patrons falls on your shoulders. The last thing you want to deal with is a claim from someone who has been injured or says they’ve suffered sexual harassment. Protect yourself from such claims and recognize potential problems before they turn into a lawsuit.
Laurence Banville. Esq is the managing partner and face of Banville Law. Laurence is licensed to practice law in the state of New York. Originally from Ireland, Banville moved to the United States of America where he worked at law firms, refining his litigation and brief writing crafts. He is also the recipient of the Irish Legal 100 and the Top 40 Under 40 awards.