One of the most valuable tools in your risk management toolkit is a formalized walk-through program. Three times in your club’s active day are great opportunities to conduct a formal walk-through to check for potential member safety hazards:
- Early morning, before the morning crowd arrives.
- Mid-morning, when your club’s morning rush is nearly over.
- Late afternoon, as the after-work crowd starts to arrive.
Create a formal walk-through plan that includes the designated employee(s) responsible for conducting inspections, specific walk-through times and your club’s checklist. A checklist documents what to look at during walk-throughs and, when completed, serves as signed documentation that each inspection was properly conducted. Consider including these points in your checklist:
1. Early morning
- Building or facility. While water leaks can happen anytime, checking for damage first thing allows you to take prompt action if a leak occurred overnight. Address any concerns with stairs and walking areas, including wet areas, as well as mats and carpets.
- General cleanliness. Inspect the entire facility, especially locker rooms and restroom facilities. Replace weights that are off the racks and make sure disinfecting supplies are fully stocked.
- Staff. Make sure your staffing model is appropriate for the day’s scheduled activities, and that everyone knows which managers are on duty for all shifts.
- First aid equipment. Check that AEDs are in place, fully charged and in working order, and that first aid kits are fully stocked and available.
- Saunas, steam rooms and locker rooms. Every walk-through should include a look into these areas to make sure no one has gotten ill or has a medical emergency. Include any other areas where someone may remain.
- Wear and tear. Inspect flooring and protective coverings daily.
- Supplies. Replenish disinfecting supplies.
- Climate. Assess temperature levels and air quality.
3. Late afternoon
- Recheck. Prepare your club before the evening rush by checking all walking areas, general cleanliness, supplies and saunas or steam rooms again.
- Fitness equipment. Ensure that equipment is in place, working properly, and cables are not worn or frayed.
- Lighting. Address any indoor, outdoor or parking lot lighting issues before nightfall.
Not all incidents can be prevented in your health club. However, a diligent, daily walk-through plan demonstrates a conscientious safety approach to your members and can help catch potential issues before they cause a problem.
This loss control information is advisory only. The author assumes no responsibility for management or control of loss control activities. Not all exposures are identified in this article.
Brian Rawlings spent 10 years developing and overseeing programs in the fitness industry before joining The Cincinnati Insurance Company in 2005. He now applies his fitness expertise as national program director for the Fitness, Sports & Recreation program at Cincinnati Insurance. Brian can be reached by email, Brian_Rawlings@cinfin.com, or by phone, 513-603-5461. Please visit www.cinfin.com/fitness-sports for more information.