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Gym operators urged to be wary of compensation culture

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Injury liability clauses, which operators often get members to sign, aren’t, in some cases, worth the paper they're written on
– Health and safety consultant, Gill Twell

Gyms must take additional measures to protect themselves and their members when it comes to duty of care and safety of their facilities, with evidence suggesting the compensation culture has reached the fitness sector.

In the latest issue of Health Club Management, ukactive head of standards Pete Wells said: “It’s really important that gym operators – particularly smaller independents – take all the necessary measures to protect themselves and their members.”

At a time when seeking compensation for injuries has become an industry in itself, operators need to make sure they have their houses in order, according to Wells, not just to protect their members from injury but also themselves from financial harm.

Gill Twell, a health and safety consultant at quality and safety specialist Right Directions, said anecdotal evidence suggests more operators are being hit with claims.

She told Health Club Managment: “We’re hearing more and more cases of people coming into facilities and claiming to have been injured – but when the operator has looked at the incident in detail, they can’t find any record of the person even being in the building.”

Twell said in the last six months she had been made aware of three or four falsified claims.

Gyms and health clubs that rely on liability waivers to protect them from claims could also be in for a shock. “Injury liability clauses, which operators often get members to sign, aren’t, in some cases, worth the paper they're written on,” said Twell.

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Gyms must protect themselves and their members when it comes to duty of care and safety of their facilities, with evidence suggesting the compensation culture has reached the fitness sector.
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