Be Active in Fitness Center Precautions Share Many churches are joining today’s health initiative and providing fitness centers, classes or gym time to their members. Beyond the health benefits that these resources offer, fitness centers and classes or organized sports can act as a fun church gathering for staff, volunteers and members to enjoy. However, it is important for churches to consider the risks associated with these types of activities as well. Please keep the following safety steps and precautions in mind regarding fitness centers to keep members safe and reduce liabilities. Workout Warm-up Before your members, staff and volunteers begin using a church fitness center, there are eight safeguards to consider: Encourage fitness center participants to be evaluated by a physician before beginning an exercise program. Such action may assist in identifying any health problems that may prevent an individual from heavy physical activity. Create an agreement that includes a waiver or release, a statement regarding health insurance and a consent to emergency medical treatment. SafeChurch.com offers a sample of this type of provision. Develop a check-in system or log to record facility usage. This also can be utilized in limiting use to church members only. While the church can take safety precautions, users of the fitness center also should conduct themselves in a safe manner. To encourage this behavior, establish a set of rules of conduct. These should be signed by members, and posted in the facility where it can be viewed by all users. Considerations include: attire, conduct, sanitation, hygiene, food and drink, valuables, and reporting of problems. Be sure there is an adequate amount of staffing and supervision in the fitness center at all times. Identify emergency procedures for members, and provide related training for staff. This would include training on responding to emergencies and reporting of injuries. Establish procedures for facility opening and shut-down or lock-up. Establish a minimum age limit if minors are allowed to use the fitness center. Also, require a parental permission form and consent for emergency treatment. Fitness Center Equipment To ensure the safe use of all equipment in the church fitness center, provide instructional placards or a staff-provided orientation for each piece of equipment. Beyond its use, it is important to regularly inspect equipment as well. Establish procedures on removing malfunctioning equipment from service. Popular among fitness centers are free weights. However, avoid this specific type of equipment, as they can be dangerous to use. Keeping Your Safety Procedures in Shape Providing in-house fitness centers for church members and staff can offer great benefits to its users and the church. In today’s health-focused world, the use of fitness centers is becoming increasingly more popular. Therefore, it is important to ensure that the procedures, rules of conduct and equipment are continuously reviewed or inspected in order to ensure top safety conditions. Take the necessary precautions to keep your members safe and healthy. For more information, review the Risk Management Considerations for Church Fitness Centers, Classes and Gymnasium Usefact sheet on SafeChurch.com. Tags SafeChurch Religious Organization © 2023 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.