When the weather starts to get frosty, you know the holidays are quickly approaching. But while tidings of good cheer for all is a lovely idea, sometimes things go astray. Accidents happen, even during the happiest season of the year. Reducing the frequency and severity of losses around the holidays means mitigating the extra risks that arise when the snow (and spirits) starts to fly.
Read on to learn more about how to mitigate holiday risks at your business and contact us for additional help!
Holiday Risk Management: The Often Overlooked Risks Every Gym Operator Should Assess During the Holidays
This time of year often brings elevated risks and exposures to your business.
Ice and snow cause slips and falls
Every business owner knows the risks with slip and fall accidents —and these risks increase with winter weather. Not only does your walkway, entrance, and parking lot ice up but foot traffic into your building also causes wet floors and standing water inside when the ice melts off boots. People can slip and be injured inside and outside when the weather turns nasty.
You can lower your risk of these types of claims by being vigilant about snow and ice removal and keeping your floors water-free. Teach your staff the importance of safety measures —put up wet floor signs, mop wet floors promptly, and monitor walkways and entrances for snow and ice accumulation.
Take a look at your lease, too. Are the parking lots and outside walkways your business uses your responsibility? The property owner may hold liability for these spaces. We can review your lease with you and find any gaps to make sure your liability coverage is up to speed.
Property damage risks increase in cold weather
Some property damage risks arise when the thermometer dips below freezing. Your pipes could be at risk, especially if your gym has a pool or outdoor spa. Ice dams can form on roofs, causing water to back up as daytime temperatures and warm air inside the building melt ice. This can lead to water damage claims.
Winterize your property and talk with your property owner or leasing agent about the steps they take in cold weather. Make sure you understand your risks and exposures compared with the landlord’s responsibilities and risks. While some exposures may be the responsibility of the property owner, you likely also have duties outlined in your lease to help reduce risks.
Don’t forget about your auto exposures
If you have any vehicles used for your business, consider the additional risks of winter driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates at least 17% of all accidents happen in wintry weather. Help your employees —and yourself —stay safe this winter. If there is poor weather predicted, consider whether anyone needs to drive. If some of your staff can stay home or stay at work once poor weather strikes, it may be safer than trying to commute in a storm. Waiting until road crews have cleared your area is always a good safety tip.
COVID-19 risks are still a factor
Consider how COVID-19 risks may change this winter at your gym. There could be more people choosing to work out inside because of cold temperatures, so your distancing measures could be challenged. If you host fitness classes, be aware of having more people in close contact. Some experts have said masks may be less effective as people sweat, which is a concern for gym-goers.
You can help mitigate the additional risks by continuing your thorough cleaning schedule and enforcing members wiping down machines they use every time. Have limits on class size and ask members to book classes online in advance. You might consider having a limit on the number of members in each area of the gym at a time. Sign-up sheets can help organize this.
Empower your staff to enforce the rules —and make sure your employees also follow them. Post signs asking members to respect mask use. You can add a clause to membership agreements about masking and social distancing rules. Check with your agent about best practices as we continue moving toward the new normal following the pandemic.
Injury claims may increase as the temperature decreases
Cold bodies and exercise don’t go well together. And sometimes people skip their warm-up to save time and get right to sweating when they hit the gym. This may not be a problem for some more athletic folks, but lots of people will experience muscle strains and more major injuries from working out cold muscles.
Reinforce proper technique at your gym. Remind class instructors to do a proper warm-up every time and to educate members about the importance of warming up and cooling down their bodies to help avoid injury and reduce muscle soreness. Make sure your employees are warming up before teaching clients, too. Workers’ Compensation claims can be just as time-consuming and expensive as injury claims.
We can help you learn more about how to mitigate holiday and wintry weather claims at your gym. Let us review your exposures and help you manage your risks this year! Aiming for a claims-free holiday season is a great goal to end your year.
If you’re not sure what steps to take to mitigate your holiday and cold weather risks, we can help you understand your current coverage and identify any gaps so you can enjoy the holidays with peace of mind! Reach out today and have a joyous holiday season.