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Keeping Members Safe and Reducing Liabilities in Church Gyms

Does your church have a gymnasium in which members play basketball, volleyball or participate in other fitness activities? While providing such a facility to members is great, churches must consider the related risks and take the necessary precautions to keep members safe and reduce liabilities. Consider the following:

  • Doctor Check-up – Have a statement urging all participants to be evaluated by a physician before beginning any exercise program.

  • Regulate Activities – You may want to limit gym use to organized church activities only, eliminating public pick-up games.

  • Rules of Conduct – Establish rules of conduct and/or play. Considerations include footwear, attire and conduct. Distribute these rules to players and post them at the facility.

  • Church Representative – Designate a church member to be present at each activity. This representative is responsible for ensuring rules of conduct and/or play are followed, deterring injury- or damage-producing incidents, responding to emergency situations, and facility shut-down and lock-up.

  • Train Church Representatives – Train church members to respond to and report injuries.

  • Usage Agreement for Outside Groups – If you allow outside groups to use the gym, develop a facility usage agreement with hold harmless language. Also, require a certificate of insurance with the church added as an additional insured.

  • Allowing Minors – Establish a minimum age limit, if minors are allowed to use the gymnasium. Also, require a parental consent/release form, parental consent to treatment and adult supervision.

© 2024 GuideOne Insurance. GuideOne® is the registered trademark of the GuideOne Insurance Company. All rights reserved. This material is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to give specific legal or risk management advice, nor are any suggested checklists or action plans intended to include or address all possible risk management exposures or solutions. You are encouraged to retain your own expert consultants and legal advisors in order to develop a risk management plan specific to your own activities.