Fitness facility owners often ask why they should install a camera surveillance system at their health and fitness center. Their argument against the systems usually includes price of installation, cost of monitoring and a genuine disbelief in their value. Camera surveillance systems, however, can help with crime prevention, liability claim defense and accident prevention.
Crime deterrence that comes when people know they are being watched is substantial. Camera technology allows for amazing clarity and important details to be recorded. Criminals often choose their targets by how easily they can avoid being caught, and the chances are much higher if their picture is shown on the evening news, along with a video of the crime they committed. Just having a camera surveillance system in place may prevent your club from becoming a target.
Expanding video surveillance to your club’s parking lots serves to deter criminals from breaking into member’s cars. Club owners who install video surveillance systems also often report a decrease in employee theft.
A member or visitor to your club may be misusing equipment and has an accident. Someone may claim they slipped and fell, but the video shows they really just sat down. These two examples are actual incidents seen at clubs, and showing the video to the claimant’s attorney made the claim go away, and led to substantial savings.
Just like these two scenarios, a video clip from your surveillance system may save your company thousands of dollars. Surveillance cameras also record legitimate accidents. If a case of clear liability is caught on camera, the adjuster can make a decision to settle the claim quickly. This helps to avoid costly litigation.
Videos also serve to alert club owners of potential problems with their facilities or equipment. Near-miss accidents serve to identify problem areas so an owner can take action before an accident occurs. For example, members in the cardio areas might be consistently having trouble getting on and off equipment. The video can show this issue and prove it is because the equipment is spaced too closely together. Seeing video evidence can help identify problems so a fix can be made before there is a serious injury or claim.
Video surveillance is a tool that will record both good and bad situations in a health club. Being on camera will encourage employees, members and visitors to obey club rules since they know they are being watched. The cost of implementing a new camera surveillance system can be offset by the savings from potential theft and potential litigation in your club.
Bill Coons is a senior loss control specialist at Markel. Markel Health Club Solutions provides insurance solutions for franchise and non-franchise clubs. For more information visit markelhealthclub.com. View their disclaimer at markelhealthclub.com/disclaimer.