“I generally start my sermon on reducing risk by stating that most club accidents can be prevented,” says Lance C. Brenn, claims litigation analyst at K&K Insurance Group, Inc.
There are a number of issues to consider when it comes to risk reduction in clubs: the potential for wet area slip-and-fall, the pitfalls often found in member agreements, and more. One area in which you can proactively protect your business is being aware of liability—and mitigating it—around equipment.
“Poorly maintained equipment can cause serious injuries and therefore increased claim experience and premium increases,” asserts Brenn. “Lawsuits lead to substantial legal expenses and uncertainties with their resolution. Responding to lawsuits takes significant time and resources on the part of club staff. Club membership can suffer and decline if equipment is not maintained. Clubs that have equipment continually out of service do not demonstrate a well-run operation.”
The types of injuries that can arise, he notes, can vary significantly, from minor lacerations and contusions to concussions and traumatic brain injuries. Most injuries involving lacerations also require suturing. Depending on how the member is using the equipment at the time, serious dental and facial injuries can also occur.
Maintenance is critical and key to averting equipment failure.
“The majority of equipment failures involve cable snap-offs with multi-station and pull-down machines,” he says. “In most situations, cable frays are what eventually lead to failure. We also see nuts that connect to the cables become worn and, over time, fail. Carabiner clips that connect the pull-down bar is another common problem. But issues like these can be easily corrected by regular inspections and preventive maintenance, not to mention that they are inexpensive to repair or replace.”