Leisure Centres and Gyms
Leisure Centres and Gyms – Every business has a legal responsibility to identify potential risks to health and safety and to adopt measures that minimise those hazards. In the leisure centre and gym world these risks are subtly different from those in almost any other industry – you have swimming pools, showers and steam rooms to contend with, as well as heavy weights and complicated equipment. Here’s our quick guide to ensuring your leisure centre or gym is as safe as can be.
Defibrillators are compact pieces of equipment to restart the heart in the event of a cardiac emergency. People using gym equipment or engaging in sports activities can be at particular risk here, especially if they are not used to the exertion. Keeping defibrillator equipment on site and in good working order, with personnel trained to use it properly, is excellent practice – the faster you respond to this kind of emergency, the better the recovery chances for the casualty
Don’t use defibrillator equipment on people who are wet (from swimming, steam rooms, etc) as the electric discharge and the water will present their own risk.
Flooring / Matting
Installing the correct matting in your gym or leisure centre will perhaps have the biggest impact on your health and safety. There are two main areas to look at here: gyms and wet areas.
The floor of your gym needs to be resistant to impacts (from dropped weights, for example), easy to clean and offer good traction to reduce slips and trips as well as hold equipment in place. The best gym floor matting is rubber – it meets all those criteria, is extremely hard-wearing and long-lasting and it is very cost-effective.
Wet area flooring
The requirements for wet areas – poolside, outside steam rooms and in shower areas – skew firmly towards traction and drainage. You need matting that provides the absolute best surface for wet, bare feet, with drain channels that allow water to pass through without forming puddles. PVC is a good option and the best mats also have an antimicrobial finish, reducing the likelihood of bacteria or fungus spores from becoming established and causing problems.
Not enough emphasis can remain put on training. Your staff are there not only to deal with customer enquiries or take payments – they are also there to ensure that people using your facilities do so safely and comfortably. Make sure that plenty of people trained in first aid techniques, defibrillator use, water-rescue and that your evacuation plan is well-known and practised regularly.
When it comes to gym equipment, make sure that people are not injuring themselves by misusing the machines. You can put up instructional posters next to your equipment to mitigate this risk, with clear (ideally pictorial) guidance on how to use the equipment safely and properly, as well as – where possible – making sure that you have a trainer on site to monitor use.
First Mats started life as safety matting specialists, but have since expanded to become a complete industrial and commercial supplies company. However, the focus of First Mats is to provide safety-focused products that improve the wellbeing of staff through quality approved products, backed up by extensive knowledge. www.firstmats.co.uk