13 January 2016
Time for the Gym? Reach for the Burn, Not a Personal Injury
New year, new regime? Whether you’re working off the Christmas puddings, starting a New Year resolution or an avid gym-goer, here are a few things you should know about injuries at the gym before working out.
When it comes to avoiding an injury at the gym, there are several things you can do before taking to the treadmill or bench press.
Our guide to gym injuries firstly highlights the necessity to accept any training offered to you by gym employees. Most gyms will offer an induction course, which we recommend you take to learn or familiarise yourself with the correct (and safe) way to use any equipment. To offer context, training is provided in workplaces and when operating heavy machinery or vehicles so that the user does not put themselves or others in danger. The same applies to induction training at the gym where the equipment is generally heavy, with working levers that could potentially cause serious harm if improperly used.
If your gym doesn’t offer an induction course, don’t be afraid to ask. If you’re thinking of signing up with a gym instructor, it is a good idea to check their credentials so that you know they know what they’re talking about.
The Gym’s Responsibilities for Your Safety
Though you may think that accidents in gyms would occur as a result of misusing the equipment, many of the hazards are caused by the negligence of others.
Whereas you have a responsibility to know your limits in avoiding injuries, it is the gym’s responsibility to ensure that a safe environment is provided. This includes maintaining the equipment as well as the facilities. Spilled water in the changing rooms or a puddle on the gym floor could cause a serious slip and fall incident when surrounded by others who are focused on operating such heavy machinery. This consideration of others may extend to tidying away used weights and bars, which could also cause an accident.
Often, machines in the gym will have warning safety labels that are not to be removed, advising against using the apparatus if you’re experiencing symptoms such as nausea or dizziness. They may also provide information on how to use the equipment. If this label is missing, it is best to be vigilant and bring it to an employee’s attention when asking them what you need to know.
Signing a Waiver at the Gym
In a previous blog we addressed the question of whether you’re able to make a personal injury claim if you’ve signed a waiver.
If you’re a member or a gym or health club then it’s very likely that you will have signed a waiver when you joined. As you’re new to the gym and unfamiliar with the equipment, an injury is more likely without the correct training. Because of this, a clause in your contract may limit the gym’s liability in the event you’re unfortunately injured whilst using the gym. However, sports facilities are subject to the Unfair Contract Terms Act, and it's the gym management’s responsibility to maintain health and safety regulations, including regular checks of equipment and cleaning spillages, meaning that it may still be possible to make a claim.
So if you’re thinking of joining a gym, as with all contracts, read carefully before signing. And if you’re new to the gym, or feel unsafe using the equipment, seek the advice of a qualified instructor so that reaching for the burn doesn’t end in an injury that wasn’t your fault.
At Slater and Gordon, we have successfully settled many gym injury claims on behalf of clients who were injured at their gym. If you have been injured in an accident at the gym or a public place through no fault of your own contact Slater and Gordon Lawyers on 0800 916 9046 or alternatively contact us online and we will call you back.