Here are the five keys to Fitness Center risk management and ways to improve your fitness facility’s risk profile:
- Insure fitness center safety by implementing a regular preventive maintenance (PM) program through your in-house maintenance department or with a third party fitness equipment repair provider. An example of a fitness center PM would include the following types of activities: a) test cardiovascular equipment (treadmills, recumbent and upright bikes, ellipticals, steppers, cross-trainers, spinners, and rowers) for proper operation, b) clean cardiovascular equipment per manufacturers specifications, c) inspect treadmill belts and decks for signs of wear, d) remove treadmill motor shrouds and vacuum internally, e) lubricate treadmill belts and decks per manufacturers specifications, f) inspect elliptical mechanical parts for signs of wear, g) check bike chains, cranks, pedals, and straps and replace when required, h) inspection and general maintenance of all strength training equipment, including and not limited to: adjusting cables, belts, pulley alignment, tightening bolts, and adjusting range of motion cams.
- ADA and other industry guidelines are strongly suggested for your facility layout and placement of equipment. They allow you to demonstrate, in a potential liability case, that you have made every effort to design and maintain a safe fitness center environment. ADA compliance requires that in PUBLIC USE FACILITIES, at least one unit of each type of cardio category (i.e., 1 treadmill,1 elliptical, 1 bike, 1 stepper, and 1 rower) have at least three feet of open space on one side of the machine (of which, shared access is permitted by two separate cardio categories), and at least three feet of open space for rear access to the machine. Because most multi-family properties’ fitness centers are for private residents’ use, it appears they DO NOT come under the ADA guidelines. However, we still want the community to be aware of such guidelines, and we recommend the property consult legal counsel to determine if in fact the property qualifies for private status under these ADA guidelines.
- If you choose to subcontract this work, it is strongly recommended that you require your service contractor to provide a certificate of insurance, naming your facility as an “additional insured.” Require that the service provider’s insurance policy is a “completed operations” policy, and not just a “premises-only” policy. If you have the additional insured status, a “premises-only” policy only covers you while the service is being provided on-site. Consequently, when the contractor is finished with the preventive maintenance, the additional insured status is not in effect. A vendor with a “completed operations” policy provides you this additional insured status regardless of whether or not the vendor is on or off your premises.
- Insure that the vendor’s policy is written on a “per occurrence” basis rather than a “claims made” basis. This is important since insurance policies are renewed on an annual basis, and if the claim is made under a per occurrence policy, then the certificate of insurance will be consistent with the time period that an accident occurred.
- Finally, when using a service provider for fitness center maintenance, it’s always a good idea to require at least $5.0 million of general and excess liability coverage per occurrence.
For more friendly fitness center advice, please contact Heartline at 301-921-0661, or go to our website at www.heartlinefitness.com. [email address=”[email protected]” text=”email me”]