10 Top Liability Risks for the Hotel Fitness Center
By Kurt A. Broadhag President, K Allan Consulting | October 10, 2010
Hotel fitness centers worldwide share the common goal of providing guests a safe workout environment. Unfortunately with exercise comes risk. Within the gym there are a whole host of potentially dangerous situations that can threaten the safety of its members. Without the proper planning these risks can result in injuries, exposing the facility to potential negligence.
Unlike traditional gyms the hotel fitness center offers the unique challenge of catering to a constant flow of new members daily unaccustomed to specific gym dynamics. In the traditional gym setting new members must participate in a mandatory orientation consisting of health screenings, release forms, equipment operations, and rules and regulations allowing each member to become familiar with the operations of the gym facility. This orientation is not often found in the hotel fitness center setting. As a result, this inability to develop personal relationships combined with the unfamiliar surrounding each guest faces on limited usage creates a unique challenge in providing the safest of environment.
Despite the fact that the hotel fitness center is at a disadvantage in as far as orienting its guests with potential liability risks found within the gym there are a number of steps that can be taken to reduce negligence. Following are ten areas within the fitness center that can pose risks as well as steps that management can take to limit liability:
Liability protection is an important factor to consider when purchasing exercise equipment. Catastrophic failure of exercise equipment can lead to serious injuries. Consideration in the procurement process should be given only to reputable equipment manufacturers who have been in business for years. This endures a lengthy amount of time has gone into product testing and quality control. Also, these reputable manufacturers carry large product liability policies. When choosing equipment within these companies make sure the equipment will hold up to the rigors of your facility by purchasing either full commercial products or at the minimum light commercial. There are a number of different specifications among the different fitness equipment categories that each should meet to lower your risk of liability such as protected weight stacks, equipment placards explaining proper equipment use, and emergency stops to name just a few. Finally, pay special consideration as to whether your facility will be staffed or non-staffed. For example, if your facility is non-staffed it would not be a good choice to install equipment that uses heavy freeweights which can be easily dropped on someone causing serious injury, especially without supervision.