HEALTH CLUBS: A MINEFIELD OF POTENTIAL INJURIES
Health club owners and managers must understand that they need to be highly tuned in to all aspects of the club’s operation because there are so many potential legal issues involved.
Having previously worked in the healthcare field for 13 years, I saw many incidents occur that could have resulted in lawsuits. Here are a few examples:
- An employee failing to put a “Caution, Wet Floor” sign on a freshly mopped floor resulted in a member falling on her back and head.
- A member repeatedly sexually harassing women in the club’s Jacuzzi.
- Another personal trainer’s client falling off of an exercise bike while warming up for a personal training session.
- A new member spitting on his hands before touching exercise equipment in order to “get a better grip.”
- Members using exercise equipment in dangerous, contraindicated ways.
These are just a small sampling of the vast minefield of ways in which health club owners can be vulnerable to lawsuits resulting from injuries.
Mitigating the Risks
One way health club owners and managers can mitigate both potential and real risks is to regularly inspect all of the health club’s equipment. This includes not-so-obvious equipment such as exercise balls and exercise bands. Regarding exercise balls, a health club was recently sued by a member when the exercise ball deflated while he was doing chest presses with dumbbells. Regarding bands, a health club was included in a lawsuit when a woman was using a band that snapped and hit her in the eye.
Thus, health club owners and managers should be thoroughly knowledgeable in regards to the manufacturer’s recommendations of use, as well as life expectancy of all exercise equipment in the club. Inspection of the equipment should be regular, and regularly documented.
Health club owners and staff also need to know all of the comings and goings within their facility. Simple procedures can go a long way in mitigating risks, such as checking every member in, making sure cell phones aren’t being used to invade privacy in locker rooms, providing thorough orientations for members, and making sure all trainers are certified and practicing within their scope of practice. These are just some of the regular practices that may mitigate the risk of an expensive lawsuit down the road.
Wisconsin personal injury lawyer Thomas Margolis can help you assess your gym injury case. Contact Margolis Law today.