Days, weeks and months can go by in your gym or fitness studio without a single incident or injury requiring staff intervention. In fact, incidents in the gym or studio environment are rare, despite scores of unqualified members operating moving machinery and lifting heavy objects. However, you cannot afford to allow your staff to become desensitized to the potential perils of exercise and its inherent risks of injury. Doing so could lead to a lawsuit that could be expensive or even cost you your business.
Why Your Staff Needs First Aid Training
While all certified fitness professional are required to maintain a current basic CPR certification, they are not required to take the first aid component. However, many incidents can be handled on-site with proper first aid training.
As a manager or owner of a gym or studio, avoiding unnecessary 911 intervention is a desirable option, because it minimizes your liability when a minor medical incident occurs. Moreover, qualified first aid providers on the scene of a 911 emergency can improve an injured victim’s chance of recovery or even survival before medics arrive, and reduce your liability. Therefore, it is advisable that you provide and mandate first aid training and certification for all of your employees.
Incident Management Checklist
The following checklist covers the actions you should take to maximize your facility’s incident management readiness and reduce your liability.
- Stock emergency and first aid supplies. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has established standards for the minimally acceptable number and type of first-aid supplies for first-aid kits at any workplace. The size of your facility will determine the number of kits you need. First aid supplies should be placed where they can be quickly accessed in an emergency. Fire extinguishers and AEDs should be well placed and easy to access.
- Establish an incident management system. Like any other procedure in your business, things run more smoothly when there is a well-documented system in place. Post a system checklist in the employee break room and at the front desk, and anywhere else where it will be easy for staff to reference.
- Designate shift incident managers. There should be a main incident manager and backup manager designated for every work shift. That individual will take charge of an incident, speak to emergency responders, and handle the media.
- Train and drill employees. Providers of CPR training also offer first aid training and certification. Send each employee to first aid training, or hold trainings at regular intervals at your facility. New hires should be required to complete the training within a reasonable window of time. Hold periodic emergency drills for each work shift. Notate the certification and expiration dates of each employee and review them monthly, to ensure all staff certifications remain current.
A well-trained, prepared and equipped staff can mitigate the liability associated with an incident in your gym or studio and improve the outcomes for an injured victim.