How often do you head to the gym for your daily workout without giving any consideration to safety and first aid? If you are like most people, first aid is the last thing on your mind. You are looking forward to a good workout that gets the heart pumping and the muscles working. You probably don’t think about first aid unless confronted with an actual emergency.
Let us say an emergency did occur. Does your gym have a first-aid room? If not, do you know whether or not there are even first aid kits available? These are tricky questions inasmuch as the law does not require gyms to take any concrete steps to offer first aid to the public. Therefore, consistency is lacking.
Some gyms are proactive about first aid. They visit a site where they buy first aid kits that meet British standards. They set up first aid rooms that meet the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) guidelines. They go out of their way to ensure customers know about their first aid rooms and any established policies.
Other gyms do not take such a proactive stance. They might have one or two first aid kits on site, but they do very little else. This is not to say that such gyms are not as good as their first aid-minded counterparts. It is mentioned simply to let you know that they take a different approach to first aid.
The First-Aid Room in Your Gym
A gym wanting to provide maximum first aid benefits to customers would consider establishing a first-aid room. Again, having a first-aid room is not necessarily mandatory under the law. Businesses of all sizes and types would have to undergo a first aid needs assessment to figure out if a first-aid room is an obligation.
Whether an assessment indicates a first-aid room is necessary or an employer chooses to create one out of a sense of duty to customers, a typical room includes:
- sink with hot and cold running water
- soap and paper towels
- clean drinking water with disposable cups
- first-aid materials (usually a first-aid kit)
- examination/medical couch
- telephone or other communication equipment
- logbook for recording first aid incidents.
The HSE suggests that a first-aid room should be limited only to providing first aid to sick or injured customers and employees. Furthermore, access to the first-aid room should be controlled by a designated first-aider or another appointed person. Access points should be capable of accommodating stretchers. They should also be clearly marked so those first responders can easily find them.
Basic First Aid Training to Gym Employees
In addition to establishing first aid rooms, gyms can also serve their customers by providing basic first aid training to a core group of employees. This training would include basic principles like treating open wounds and cuts, stabilizing broken bones, identifying and addressing dehydration, and so forth.
Gym owners should know that basic first aid training is available all across the UK. From the Red Cross to local fire brigades, it should be easy to find a training programme just about anywhere. A good training programme can make a gym that much safer by ensuring that employees know how to render basic aid in the event of an emergency.
It would be difficult to discuss a topic like this without also mentioning on-site AEDs. An AED is an automatic external defibrillator deployed on behalf of a person in cardiac arrest. It utilises electrical shock to restart a stopped heart. The best thing about the AED is that it does not require formal training to deploy.
The ‘automatic’ portion of the AED takes all the guesswork out of using one. A typical AED device comes with instructions complete with both written text and illustrations. Deploying the device is as easy as opening the package, attaching a number of electrodes at key places, and turning the device on. Once on, the AED automatically handles everything else.
AEDs are ideal for gyms and leisure centres. Having at least one at the front desk, alongside a good first aid kit, could mean the difference between life and death for a customer in distress. Facilities that are large enough to separate customers from the front desk may need additional AEDs and first aid kits stored in strategic locations throughout.
Talk to Your Gym Management
Hopefully, first aid will now be something you think about when you head to the gym. You are encouraged to speak to gym management about first aid policies and procedures. If your gym does not currently provide a first-aid room, talk to management about it. You might be surprised by the response you get.
First aid is a critical topic that should not be ignored. In the gym environment, it is more important than ever. The more gym owners and customers know about first aid, the safer the gym environment becomes.
The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.