Health club risk management news - Vol. 1

Health club risk management news - Vol. 1

Locker room safety:  Preventing hazards before they happen

Monitoring a fitness club’s locker room with a consistent inspection program can help reduce the likelihood of it becoming a hazard zone.

Slips and falls due to excess water and debris on the restroom and locker room floors are frequently reported claims to Markel. Overflowing sinks and toilets often lead to extensive damage and repair costs. Additional hazards include poorly secured and maintained fixtures such as sinks and lockers that can topple over on someone and incidents of theft from unattended lockers.

The frequency of your inspections depends on how often the locker rooms are used and the number of clients in your facility each day. We recommend the minimum standard should be every hour or more frequently for high volume usage. If you are a 24-hour facility, with no staff during late hours, inspect the bathroom(s) before staff leave and immediately upon arrival the next morning. Inspections should be thorough.  Check stalls, under fixtures, trash cans, and floor mats. If a stall is occupied, wait for it to become available so it can be checked. That way, nothing is overlooked. 

Lockers should be checked to ensure they are securely fastened to the wall and free of defects.  A broken locker door can lead to a variety of hazards.  Secure or remove any broken lockers as soon as possible.  Post reminders encouraging clientele to secure their lockers before working out.

Immediately take corrective action to resolve any hazard(s) you find. If you notice water or debris on the floor, clean it up immediately. If the floor is wet, post a conspicuous warning sign to advise club members and any guests of a potential hazardous condition. 

Because an overflowing toilet can quickly dump several gallons of water on the floor, which can easily access other areas of your building, it is important that staff know how to turn the water off. Posting step-by-step instructions on how to turn the water off may further serve to enlist clientele to help control potential damages. Keep in mind that commercial urinals and toilets may require additional steps to shut the water off at the source. Consider installing an overflow alert system that will notify you of overflowing bathroom urinals and sinks during off hours. In addition to alerting you of an overflow, these systems can also shut the water off for you and help mitigate potential damage.  They are relatively inexpensive in comparison to the potential damage these overflows can cause.

Does your emergency action plan include how to shut the water off if needed?  Invite a plumber to your club to show staff what to do and then include those steps as a reference for the future. (Learn more about emergency action plan development by visiting Markel’s risk management library and read the following article:  Building a comprehensive emergency action plan.

Conspicuously post signage advising members that bathrooms are monitored. And, most importantly, keep your inspection process consistent and well documented should you need to refer to it later. Maintain this information with your other business records.

The information provided in this article is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as all encompassing, or suitable for all situations, conditions, and environments. Please contact us or your attorney if you have any questions.

For safety or risk management questions or suggestions, please contact Markel.

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