The role of equipment, the physical environment and training practices in customer safety within fitness facilities: The perspectives of fitness industry employees

Shannon E. Gray, Patrick Keyzer, Kevin Norton, Joachim Dietrich, Betul Sekendiz, Ian R. Coyle, Caroline F. Finch

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Introduction: Fitness facilities provide an avenue for people to engage in physical activity; however, it is important that these facilities have effective strategies to reduce the risk of injuries to their customers. The attitudes of fitness industry employees with respect to safety can influence the implementation of risk management practices that can then impact on the success of such strategies. The aim of this study was to identify views of nationwide fitness industry employees about safety hazards associated with equipment, training practices and the physical environments within fitness facilities. Methods: A 6-week nationwide online cross-sectional self-report survey consisting of 13 basic demographic questions and 10 questions relating to equipment, training practices and physical environment of fitness facilities, extracted from a 45 item questionnaire, answered on a 6-point Likert scale. Results: The majority of the 1178 respondents believed their premises were safe (94.9%). Major factors compromising safety identified by respondents were lack of ventilation (68.9%) and customers frequently observed to leave equipment lying around (43.8%). Over 90% of respondents believed that both the layout of the equipment in their facility and its design was good. There was frequent observation of equipment misuse and customers using weights that were too heavy for them (41.9% and 47.8% respectively). Conclusions: Fitness facilities should implement preventative maintenance of their physical environment and equipment as standard practice. Only qualified fitness professionals should be hired and provided with extensive risk management training to support their role of overseeing customer safety and improving customer training practices. ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-33
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Fitness Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2015


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