Keeping your club members and visitors safe, along with protecting your health club investment, are worthwhile yet challenging responsibilities. There are so many things to keep you awake at night: safety procedures to establish, review and practice; inspections to coordinate; paperwork to complete; and strategies to create to help you remain competitive. How can you keep them all straight and keep your club running smoothly?
The answer is to not do it alone. By building a risk management team and network, you can distribute the workload and increase the knowledge base for all participants.
First and foremost, consider your staff members. Do you work with individuals who have a particularly helpful background or expertise to contribute, such as law enforcement, engineering, medical or pool management? Your facilities director, department heads and any staff associated with building and grounds security should be involved. Set up an internal committee that meets at least quarterly to focus solely on risk management and safety concerns and practices. Charge someone to lead the committee and oversee the resulting initiatives.
Look outside your organization for resources you can invite to your risk management meetings or who can assist with distinct initiatives. Some excellent resources to consider are:
Local Fire/EMS/Police: Ask these resources to advise your team on emergency protocols and to run mock events for emergency planning and training purposes. Make sure they are familiar with the various means of ingress and egress of your facility. Finally, request that they keep you updated on incidents in your community that may affect your club.
Your Insurance Agent and Carrier: Your insurance agent and the company that insures your club may have resources and educational materials available to assist you with best practices. They may also have loss prevention professionals who can consult with and advise your team. Take advantage of their expertise to benefit your operations.
Trade Associations/Industry Resources: Keep your eyes and ears open and read the many great publications and informative e-blasts available. Attend and get involved in industry conferences, trade shows and webinars from which you can glean valuable insight.
Vendors: Often your vendors can assist in making recommendations. Some of these services may be offered for an additional charge, but the benefits may outweigh the cost.
Local Agencies: Your local chapter of the American Red Cross is an excellent example of a resource that you can use to help keep your members and visitors safe.
Legal Counsel: Make sure your legal counsel reviews your waivers and contracts to protect your interests. They often are able to do research on laws that affect your club and various policies you may need to implement or update.
It takes a village. Using the talent on your team and available resources can help you gain incredible insight and ideas about best practices for your club.
Brian Rawlings spent 10 years developing and overseeing programs in the fitness industry before joining The Cincinnati Insurance Company. He now applies his fitness expertise as the national program director for the fitness, sports and recreation program at Cincinnati Insurance. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.