Cut Down On Novice Member Liabilities At A Commerical Gym

Posted on: 26 May 2015

People who never previously exercised before may decide one day to commence on a healthier new path in life. Joining a gym is pretty much the easiest way to do so. While it is a good thing commercial gyms promote beginner friendly, non-judgmental training environments for newbies, the practice of just signing inexperienced members up and allowing them to workout without supervision is troubling. True, the new gym member should be reasonably responsible for his/her own actions, but the gym should never be so "hands off" that someone could injure him/herself.

Waivers are not Blanket Policies

Many gyms will require a new member to sign a waiver freeing the gym of certain responsibilities for injuries. Waivers, however, are not ironclad. At no point is a gym owner relieved of providing a safe, negligence free training environment. For example, refusing to replace obviously damaged equipment would be an example of negligence the waiver won't cover. Similarly, a case could be made that blatantly ignoring accident-prone behavior on the part of a novice is another form of gross negligence. To reduce the chances of being sued, gyms should put specific policies in place regarding the supervision of new members.

Maintain Proper Supervision

Employees cannot just sit at the front desk of the gym and remain oblivious to what is occurring on the floor. When someone who is an obvious "newbie" is working out in the following manner, someone should step in when:

  • The member tries to lift a massive weight on a barbell bench press despite lacking the strength level to handle the load, and no training partner is spotting for safety.
  • The member performs exercises such as bicep curls and dead-lifts with no attention to form and risks injury as a result.
  • The member is dressed very inappropriately while running on a treadmill and the clothing is capable of being caught in the machine's conveyor belt.

A legal question arises here. Did anyone working at the gym remain watchful enough to notice these scenarios and were steps taken to correct the problems? If not, then a personal injury lawyer could build a case for negligence.

A Proper Intro

Policies regarding new members could be implemented to reduce liabilities. Gyms could benefit by performing a basic skill assessment of new members. Additionally, when the new member is a novice, running him/her through a basic intro course on how to safely perform basic exercises might be a huge help. Small, simple policies such as these could avoid major liabilities and disasters.

For more information about personal injury cases, contact a legal office like Madigan & Scott Inc.


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