Signs aren’t just for show
Signage in a fitness center serves several roles. Warning, policy / procedure, announcement and directional signs are all important to the safety of fitness center clients and protecting your business and staff from liability claims.
These signs serve as silent staff members, reminding clients of safety procedures and cautioning them of potential dangers. These can include warnings of wet floors in sauna/jacuzzi/pool/shower areas, improper use of equipment, and use of spotters in weight areas. Warning signs should be professionally printed and posted strategically where they can be seen clearly and at eye level, or no higher than 6’ from the ground.
Policies & Procedures
These range from general policies posted at the front desk to issues of sanitation and courtesy throughout the facility. Examples include minimum age requirements of clients, policies for use of the locker rooms and showers, and use of equipment. These signs should also be printed professionally and placed in close proximity to the relevant area(s) no higher than 4 to 6’ from the ground. Decals on mirrors and glass doors/windows are useful for attracting attention to certain policies or instructions.
Special events and classes take place in fitness centers on a regular basis. Signs alerting clients about the dates and details can be generated in-house by hand or computer and placed randomly, making sure they don’t interfere with or distract from any safety or policy signs.
Signs denoting exits, ADA-facilities and equipment, emergency exit plans, location of safety equipment (fire extinguishers, first aid kits, alarms, etc.) should be professionally generated and posted per building regulations.
Despite the best efforts of your staff, accidents and emergencies will occur. Your facility should have written emergency procedures in the event an injury illness or an emergency such as fire,tornado, power outage.
- Every staff member (including independent contractors and volunteers) should receive a copy of the emergency procedures and required to sign that they have read and understood them. These procedures should be reviewed regularly at least once a year.
- Staff members who work on the fitness floor should have Red Cross training in first aid. At least one CPR-certified staff member should be on site at all times.
- If there is AED equipment (defibrillator) on site, at least one staff member trained in the use of the AED should be on site at all times.
Source: David L. Harlowe, Chapter 27: “Fitness Center Safety,” Risk Management In Sport, Third Edition, 2012.