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HSE busts ‘myth’ of need for repeat gym inductions

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The bane of many experienced gym users and personal trainers alike, gym inductions are not necessarily required if a health club is taken over by a new provider, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has confirmed.

There has long been confusion over the health and safety requirements – particularly when it comes to sites taken over by new operators – regarding inductions, causing gyms to err on the side of caution for fear of potential litigation. This has been compounded by recent media scrutiny of gym safety procedures in the wake of incidents like the death of tech executive Dave Goldberg.

Responding to a question on the HSE website over whether new inductions are necessary for all members when a gym is taken over, the Executive’s Myth Busters Challenge Panel said this was an ‘excessive’ measure.

“While it is useful for new users, insisting that existing customers pay for induction training on equipment they are already familiar with is excessive,” was the HSE’s response.

“This appears to be about a fear of being sued rather than a decision based on real health and safety risks. The company should be honest about the reasons for insisting on the training rather than using "health and safety regulations" as an excuse.”

The clarification was welcomed by ukactive, which said gym operators frequently relay their frustrations of the time and money wasted on inducting members who are clearly already comfortable using the gym equipment.

“If we took all the time and money spent on inducting gym users on equipment they can already use safely and applied this to motivational support and guidance we would be able to make a lasting impact on the health of gym users by helping them reach their goals,” said ukactive executive director Steven Ward.

“For people that have never been in a gym or used certain pieces of equipment, common sense will tell you that it is in their own and the gym’s interests for them to have a full induction to ensure their safety.

"However, for those that have been inducted at a gym previously, or have a good knowledge of how to use the equipment, this “myth busting” guidance would suggest that it is unnecessary to be required to go through another full induction upon joining a new gym.”

HSE's position was also was supported by senior industry figures such as John Oxley – the operations director of Places for People Leisure (PfPL). He said the clarification would enable PfPL fitness instructors to "more appropriately engage with its customers" and train focus on their long-term adherence to physical activity.

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The bane of many experienced gym users and personal trainers alike, gym inductions are not necessarily required if a health club is taken over by a new provider, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has confirmed.
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There has long been confusion over the health and safety requirements regarding inductions
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