Gyms can be busy places, with different types of equipment, group workout classes and individuals moving around. These factors can all contribute to accidents in the gym, which is why it’s important for all gym owners to complete a gym risk assessment and maintain good health and safety in the gym.
Regularly visiting a gym is great for physical fitness and mental wellbeing. To make the experience more secure and productive for everyone, there are some essential practices and guidelines that gyms and individuals can implement to maintain optimal health and safety in the gym. Making sure that hazards in the gym are minimised means people can work out safely – and gives staff peace of mind when on the gym floor.
There are a few common accidents in the gym that can happen to anyone, no matter how experienced you are. As gyms are workplaces as well as leisure facilities, accidents in the gym can happen to both staff and members of the public. Accidents that can occur in the gym include:
Probably some of the most common accidents in any workplace, slips, trips, and falls can happen in the gym due to spilled water, excess sweat, or the gym floor being cleaned without adequate signage. There may also be uneven floors or equipment creating obstacles which can cause people to trip and fall.
Certain things, like dumbbells or ab mats may be stored at a height. If these objects fall, they could cause mild to moderate injuries to gym goers and staff alike.
Using any kind of gym equipment comes with a risk, and the potential for accidents in the gym to happen. Falling off treadmills, dropping weights or trapping fingers are all risks if equipment is not used properly and with adequate care. Equipment related accidents can be reduced if correct training is provided to staff and customers are instructed on how to use them.
It’s important gym goers take care not to lift weights that are too heavy or perform movements with incorrect technique as this can lead to accidents in the gym. Overexertion can result in a few days of muscle pain or have more serious consequences like sprains or even breaks.
Whilst users of the gym should take personal responsibility, it is also important that gym staff and trainers ensure people are using equipment safely and are competent at a range of exercises. This applies to those using the open gym and people in group fitness classes.
With good health and safety measures, and routine equipment maintenance, accidents in the gym can be reduced significantly. Reporting faulty equipment or obvious hazards can also help in creating a safe gym environment for everyone.
Investing time in a gym risk assessment protects members and ensures you comply with health and safety guidance. Moreover, it makes you a responsible gym owner who prioritises the safety of staff and clients. A gym risk assessment can cover a number of areas, from hygiene and ventilation to equipment maintenance and member education.
A risk assessment identifies hazards and areas of concern, and sets out how these can be reduced. Gym owners can then complete method statements, which set out exactly how individual tasks should be completed. Some of the areas that might be covered in a gym risk assessment are:
It is imperative for gym owners and staff to regularly inspect and maintain all equipment to minimise the risk of accidents in the gym related to gym equipment. This includes cardio equipment like treadmills and rowers, as well as free weights including barbells and dumbbells.
Regular inspections should be carried out to identify faulty or damaged equipment. Anything requiring repairs should be removed from use until the equipment has been fixed or replaced. There also ought to be clear guidelines to ensure proper usage of equipment and to educate gym goers about potential hazards in a gym.
The nature of the gym environment can mean that germs are spread easily. Many people come into contact with each other and use the same equipment, which can lead to the spread of infection. Regular cleaning schedules should be implemented to sanitise high-touch areas, such as exercise mats, weight benches, and changing rooms. There should also be disinfectant wipes, and sprays readily available for members to wipe down equipment before and after use.
There should be enough space on the gym floor for people to work out safely without being close enough to others to cause injury. In addition, gyms will need to assess the available floor space and know how many people can safely inhabit the gym floor as part of the gym risk assessment. Not leaving enough room between gym equipment can also create hazards in the gym, and there should be enough room for anyone in the gym to easily access a fire escape if a fire were to break out.
Natural airflow, air conditioning, and proper ventilation systems should be in place and detailed in the gym risk assessment, to stop the spread of airborne illnesses. It also contributes to a fresher and more enjoyable gym environment.
Educating both gym goers and staff about health and safety in the gym is a simple but very necessary step to avoid accidents in the gym. Regular training sessions can be conducted to familiarise staff with emergency protocols, CPR techniques, and the proper usage of gym equipment. Staff may also be encouraged to undertake health and safety training, so they have an in-depth knowledge of procedures, and can work with gym owners to make the gym as safe as possible.
For gym goers, signs can be displayed throughout the gym to promote safe exercise practices, proper equipment usage, and hygiene guidelines. Encouraging members to report any unsafe conditions or equipment malfunctions can also help address potential hazards in the gym too.
All new gym members should be given a full induction when joining so they are aware of health and safety measures, know how to conduct themselves, and use equipment safely. The induction can also include some tips on how gym users can take care of themselves so that they do not suffer any accidents in the gym. These tips might include:
Health and safety in the gym and gym risk assessments are crucial to establish a safe and secure gym environment. The information in the gym risk assessment may vary according to the specific gym environment – for example, a boxing gym will have different considerations to a CrossFit gym. This will inform the health and safety protocols and determine what gym staff should include in member inductions.
For help understanding what to include in gym health and safety documentation, or for a full health and safety audit of your facility please contact the team at Rhino Safety. Our experts can help you bring your gym health and safety policy up to scratch, providing staff and members with a safe and enjoyable place to work and exercise.