The environment of a fitness facility involves more than physical bricks and mortar, it is also a place where people interact emotionally and physically, and are exposed to the actions of others

The environment of a fitness facility involves more than physical bricks and mortar, it is also a place where people interact emotionally and physically, and are exposed to the actions of others.

Environment

 

As a general rule, Australian law does not hold persons liable for the criminal acts of third parties. However, there are some exceptions. Owners and operators of fitness facilities could find themselves liable for the criminal actions of their employees, or if an employee is injured by a criminal act in the workplace. They could also be liable for certain types of crimes occurring on their premises. The key issue is to what extent the owner/operator exercises control over the third party criminal. Should such crimes occur, the victim—whether a client, employee, or member of the public—could sue.

Although specific crimes and instances of criminal behaviour can be difficult to predict, it is possible for fitness industry professionals to take steps to minimise the occurrence and severity of criminal activity on their premises. It is crucial to provide a secure environment for both employees and clients.

It is possible to limit exposure to property crimes, such as theft from lockers, through the use of waivers and/or releases and the posting of signs absolving the owners/managers of responsibility for lost or stolen items. Because property crimes are foreseeable losses in fitness centre environments, owners, managers and employees will need to take reasonable steps to secure the area where clients store belongings.

Recording incidents when they happen in your workplace allows you to accurately identify and describe any previously unidentified risks and plan to minimise the risk of them happening in the future.

Fitness professionals also have a duty to refrain from injuring the dignity of a client, or discriminating against them, by treating them less favourably than another in the same circumstances because of race, gender, disability, or other identifying characteristics.  The Fitness Australia Code of Ethics outlines the way fitness professionals should behave in undertaking their duties and responsibilities, and provides guidance on ensuring professional practice at all times for all fitness professionals.

Fitness professionals should therefore promote inclusion and mutual respect in their work environment, in order to limit the potential for engaging in unlawful discrimination.