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The Importance of Having a ‘Safety Culture’

safety culture

Risk management is a vital aspect of health club operations. In fact, recent trends in risk management have emerged surrounding the development and cultivation of a “safety culture” within gyms.

Jay Scott, the national sports, fitness and recreation director for The Cincinnati Insurance Company, addressed this trend in a recent webinar.

“Safety culture refers to the way things are done in your organization,” he explained. “It’s encapsulated by the mindset, attitude and behaviors of your entire team toward the safety in your organization. A positive safety culture is absolutely vital to being successful in the health club industry.”

According to Scott, some clubs may find the idea of creating and maintaining a safety culture intimidating, “but the effects of complacency can be catastrophic, resulting in accidents, injuries, illnesses and even loss of live.”

Following is an overview of some of Scott’s top tips to ensure your club is cultivating and maintaining a safety culture.  

Effective Communication

According to Scott, it’s important to have weekly or monthly meetings surrounding risk management, where leaders can review responsibilities and expectations, and discuss safety policies and updates.

Provide Training

You already know it’s important for your instructors and trainers to receive continuing education. The same goes for your staff’s education surrounding safety and risk management. According to Scott, training and education can take on a variety of forms, including formal certifications, guest speakers, staff meetings and mock drills, for example.

Lead by Example

“Are you leading by example by following all policies and procedures, and encouraging staff to do the same?” asked Scott. “Keep in mind this starts at the top. Make safety a core organizational value. If management is committed to safety, then employees will follow suit.”

Prioritize Member Safety

According to Scott, slip and fall accidents remain the top risk factor for health clubs. As a result, it’s important to create a safety culture that prioritizes maintaining a clean gym that’s free from misplaced weights and fitness accessories. As a team, work to minimize the risk from members having a slip and fall incident under your watch.

Be Aware

Lastly, Scott advised being aware of special hazard risks — those activities and amenities that put clubs at higher risk for exposure. This includes trampolines, rock walls, and inflatables such as bouncy castles, for example. If your club does host these activities, be sure to meet with your insurance team to ensure all risks are minimized and that safety is prioritized.

To watch the full webinar, click here.


Rachel Zabonick is editor-in-chief of Club Solutions Magazine. She can be reached at rachel@peakemedia.com

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko is the editor-in-chief of Club Solutions Magazine. She can be reached at rachel@peakemedia.com.

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