Let’s face it, running a gym today comes with the threat of punches from places you couldn’t even imagine just a few years ago.
An unexpected, unprepared for punch could knock you for a loop so hard you and your club might never recover.
Typically, it has been the case that if you run a workout facility, you were exposed to liability claims and lawsuits.
All too often, gym owners take out the minimal insurance policies and hope for the best. They have members sign waivers when they join and think that will be enough to protect them.
The fact of the matter is we all know that when people are involved in intense physical activity, sometimes things go wrong. Someone might get injured while using the equipment, or pull a hamstring while working with a trainer. Or, God forbid, someone has a heart attack and dies or a child gets hurt in your childcare facility. All of these incidents leave you wide open to liability claims and lawsuits.
What too many club owners don’t know is that even with signed waivers, a gym is at risk if a member is injured on the premises. There are so many areas that make a gym owner vulnerable that you must be hyper vigilant. For instance, you must always keep your equipment in proper working order because you can be held liable for faulty equipment that causes an injury. It’s also important to hire only the most highly qualified and trained staff members and personal trainers. These educated and qualified employees can minimize your exposure to claims resulting from improper use of your fitness equipment.
Exercise and sports related injuries are so common that The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) keep annual statistics. Here are some of the most recent statistics on injuries stemming from sports, recreation and exercise (SRE):
•More than 10,000 people are treated in emergency rooms for SRE-related injuries every day in the U.S.
•In a given year, an estimated 1.5 million people are treated in emergency rooms for injuries from playing basketball and field sports.
•Active seniors account for a startling number of SRE injuries, with more than 53,000 such injuries occurring annually.
I understand the field sports are not relevant to you, but if you have a basketball court in your gym, do take note. Seniors present a particularly vulnerable population. We are living longer because we exercise, eat well and take care of ourselves. That brings an older population into the workout facilities, thus exposing gym owners to the potential for more injuries occurring on the premises.
So, now that we’ve covered the typical areas of concern for liabilities in the gym, let’s consider an area that many gym owners are blindside by. Not only is it unexpected it is particularly damaging. What happens if your computer system with all of your members’ and employees’ personal information gets hacked? Cyber liability is a real concern in any business that collects personal and financial information. (Read the article I wrote last month on the topic here “Don’t Be a Dumb Bell. Get Cyber Liability Coverage.”) Identity theft is at epidemic levels and growing rapidly. Protecting the information of employees and members is your responsibility as a gym owner.
Don’t leave yourself vulnerable to any of the ever-evolving areas that could punch you out of business. Schedule an appointment to review your coverage and make sure you have ironclad coverage.