6.1 Identify cleaning resources used in a gym environment and include:
6.2 Describe the standard operating procedures for routine maintenance and cleaning
6.3 Identify possible hazards in a fitness environment, relating to:
6.4 Explain the cleaning routines and organisational standards relevant to the gym environment
6.5 Describe how to maintain the safety of themselves and others
6.6 Identify the different types of waste and how to dispose of it
Sweating creates the ideal environment for germs, bacteria, mould, mildew, and viruses to spread. Therefore, environments and premises should be inspected and cleaned regularly.
A recent study by a gym equipment comparison website compared 27 equipment pieces in three gyms and discovered the following:
Clean changing and gym areas directly impact membership revenues. Dirty areas quickly lead to germs spreading, risking infecting members and other users. Also, dirt and sweat cause deterioration of padded areas such as flat benches, pads on machines and rusting of weight stacks. Very unsightly. Also, dirt, grime and the build-up of sweat effects tracking and heart rate sensors leading to faulty readings. Members take it for granted that facilities are clean to use, so it won’t be long before members complain or vote with their feet if facilities are dirty. A clean and regularly inspected facility is non-negotiable when running a gym or health club.
Cleaning products include:
Cleaning products help protect employee and customer health and well being by removing germs and bacteria from surfaces. Many cleaning products are available, so it’s essential to use the right products for the job or emergency—for example, wiping away blood versus minimising the risk of COVID.
1: Cleaning is the act of removing substances, particles or objects from a surface area such as debris, discarded items, microorganisms, and organic matter (blood, faeces). The act of cleaning involves using soap (or detergent) and water to remove germs from surfaces physically. Cleaning works lowering the number of germs rather than killing them all. Having a lower number of germs is what reduces the risk of infecting others.
2: Disinfecting uses a potent chemical cocktail to kill germs and pathogens living on surfaces and objects. The result is a lower germ number, thus reducing the risk of infecting others. Chemical disinfectants come in various grades of strength to meet the facility’s environmental needs. Disinfectants are extensively tested due to their risk of human ingestion and, of course, killing germs and pathogens. Facilities should consider the following criteria in choosing the correct disinfectant to use:
3: Sanitising works on surfaces and objects, especially on the hands, to lower germ numbers.
Wipes offer a quick, antibacterial clean. Place the wipes near selected equipment and in dispensers. Wipes are versatile and used for multipurpose cleaning activities such as cleaning, sanitising, and disinfecting. Overall, a great all-in-one cleaning product.
It’s good practice to encourage members to clean down equipment after use, especially if there is a high likelihood of sweating, such as after aerobic and repeated anaerobic efforts (HIIT sessions). Strategically placed spray bottles containing a pre-mixed ammonia-based cleaning solution is perfect for wiping away germs, bacteria, sweat and dirt.
Store high strength cleaning liquid securely, so it’s not readily available for general use and only available to the dedicated cleaning team to use. High strength cleaning liquid kills bacteria and viruses. The best protocol is to use it to wipe equipment and surfaces once or twice per day. Ammonia and disinfectant aerosol sprays are usually used.
Paper towel dispensers (usually in the form of a roll) to use in conjunction with spray bottles can be strategically placed on the gym floor for members to use. Once used, have bins readily available for members to discard towels when finished.
To keep carpets and floors clean and clear of dirt, high filtration vacuum cleaners are used as they can penetrate carpet fibres to remove debris and germs more effectively than vacuum cleaners used in the typical home.
Hand sanitisers instantly kill thousands of different germs and bacteria, preventing them from being transferred to a dumbbell, kettlebell, yoga mat or rowing machine. The presence of hand sanitisers will instil greater confidence in potential and current members that you take cleanliness very seriously. Hand sanitisers must be placed at the gym space entrance, especially in free weight, CV functional matted and resistance machine areas.
Antibacterial soap is not the same as hand sanitiser. Unfortunately, people often confuse the two as being the same, which is a mistake. Although hand sanitiser kills 99.9% of germs, people should use antibacterial soap to wash their hands. Conditions easily spread by the hands include influenza, rhinovirus (the common cold), and norovirus. Antibacterial hand soap is commonly found in changing areas and toilets.
Personal Protective Equipment or PPE is, as it sounds, designed to protect people from getting hurt by providing a barrier between the environment and the skin. It’s imperative whereby employees may be in contact with hazardous chemicals.
Surgical gloves protect the hands from contact with dangerous pathogens or other substances such as bodily fluids such as blood and vomit. Other types of gloves also protect the hands from irritation or damage when using toxic chemicals. Surgical gloves should be discarded when used as they too can become germ loaded when used.
Face masks and face shields protect people from inhaling airborne pathogens from simple activities such as talking, laughing, coughing, sneezing, and breathing. COVID-19 is an example of a super transmissible virus that kills if infected. Face masks and shields is a crucial safety strategy for anyone in close contact with people. They can also be worn when using chemicals and disinfecting contaminated surfaces.
A regular cleaning schedule ensures that gyms do not become venues to spread germs and diseases. Cleaning schedules have to be drawn up to include when, who and what needs inspecting and cleaning. Evidence must be recorded for quality assurance and provide an audit trail.
Cleaning must be woven into the fabric of a gym business, and members expect environments to be clean. Customer satisfaction and reputation depend on it.
All gym and health club operators have a document containing details on their operations called the Standard Operating procedures or SOP. The SOP documents every aspect of operations to open a club, including safety, maintenance and cleaning schedules.
Operational procedures are implemented to protect everyone within the fitness environment, including staff, clients, and visitors. Failure to understand and follow the operating procedures can create hazards. Instructors should be aware of the organisation’s operational procedures and how to comply with them. Failure to follow the operating procedures regarding the opening and closing of the facility could cause a potential fire hazard or security hazard.
The aim/objective is:
The Club’s Manager is responsible for ensuring the daily and periodic cleaning schedules are available in the SOP. Cleaning schedules typically include the following:
Equipment, including gym machines, are also logged as part of the daily cleaning schedule. Instructors and cleaning staff are expected to confirm that cleaning has been completed and to a satisfactory standard. Cleaning is part of an instructor’s role while they are on shift.
It is the duty manager who reviews the previous days cleaning evidence before signing off the cleaning schedule. Completed cleaning schedules are kept for a minimum period of 12 months.
General Manager’s set the minimum periodic cleaning requirements for the centre areas and equipment. Third-party vendors carry out more specialised cleaning needs. Specialised cleaning includes:
The periodic cleaning schedule will indicate the dates to clean areas and the gym. Instructors are expected to carry their cleaning duties while on shift and initial the cleaning schedule on completion. The manager usually countersigns on checking the task is completed.
Facility maintenance is usually the responsibility of the entire fitness team, who must visually inspect each equipment piece for signs of wear and tear, broken or frayed cables, general damage and overall suitability for member use. Equipment not suitable is immediately placed out of service. Typically, a “Temporarily Out of Service” notice is attached to the equipment. Also, the notice includes a description of what action has been taken. It ensures members have been informed correctly. The instructor’s next step is to notify the key people by using the centre’s reporting system involving the fault being recorded on the fitness equipment checklist. The duty manager is responsible for immediately reporting the fault to the relevant maintenance provider using a maintenance request form.
In addition, the assigned team members organise the ongoing periodic maintenance of equipment within the gym. Periodic maintenance is undertaken per the Equipment Checklist schedule.
The Equipment Checklist indicates the dates and tasks required to fulfil the required additional maintenance of the fitness equipment. The Fitness Instructor will initial that the maintenance has taken place. At the end of each week, the manager reviews the previous week’s maintenance before signing off the fitness equipment checklist.
While completing daily visual checks or periodic maintenance tasks, the General Manager would decide whether the equipment is suitable for use or not.
Should any item of equipment be deemed unsuitable for use (and agreed by the manager), then a temporary “Out of Service” notice is placed on the item of equipment, which will be dated and signed by the manager with an expected date of repair.
When an item of equipment is put out of action, the General Manager would record the details on the Equipment Checklist and request a maintenance visit from the appropriate provider, using the Maintenance Request Form.
Each piece of fitness equipment in the gym would have an individual service record, tracking and documenting its service history.
1: Completion of periodic maintenance records and logs.
2: “Temporarily Out of Service,” notices on equipment. These signages are to be ordered by our Approved vendor.
All equipment must be stored safely in the designated areas after use and, where appropriate, per manufacturer’s guidelines. Staff must be aware that any equipment not stored correctly has the potential to cause injury.
Risk management ensures members can exercise in relative safety—management of risks is through a risk assessment process. All gym operators conduct a workplace risk assessment. However, UK law does not expect operators to eliminate every type of risk, only to protect people as much as possible through appropriate measures. A qualified designated person carries out the risk assessment process. Conducting risk assessments ensures risks are minimised that would otherwise cause actual harm.
Five steps to assessing risks:
A risk assessment aims to identify who might be harmed and involves the following actions:
Assessing risks involves looking at the facilities normal operations and the member’s journey. Understanding the current controls in place and whether they are sufficient. Compare current protocols with good practice to identify if current protocols need updating.
Consider the following:
Gym environments change over time. New equipment, refurbishments and even extensions mean new hazards and risks appear, so regular risk assessments are needed.
The Health and Safety at Work Act, 1974, published by the Health and Safety Executive, includes all matters relating to health and safety at work, including risk assessment strategies, policies, and procedures.
In the same manner, a risk assessment is carried out in the workplace; instructors must undertake a risk assessment before any planned exercise session with members and clients. Each environment a session is conducted needs a risk assessment, i.e. gym, studio, outside or pool. The principles underpinning risk assessment and the process is the same.
The following five steps apply:
The table below summarises several risks and hazards and the solutions to minimise or eliminate the risks:
Slipping due to water on the floor.
Wipe the floor before the session begins. Keep areas around hydration stations dry.
Injury to a participant due to a frayed cable.
Make regular machine checks. Put an ‘out of order sign on the machine.
Bumping into other people in the area due to lack of space to perform the planned activities.
Planned activities chosen are no longer appropriate due to a change in the participant’s medical condition. This could lead to an injury.
Choose alternative activities suitable for the participant.
Bags are blocking the door and exit from the studio.
Ask participants to move their bags and store them in an appropriate place.
If a hazard or risk is poorly controlled, the correct people in the organisation need to be notified. Follow the organisation’s reporting steps and document the risks or hazards stated in the organisation’s health and safety manual. In general, ensure the general manager on duty is aware of gym-related concerns.
Instructors operating services outside of the standard gym environment should report their concerns to the person responsible for the operating of the facility. Be sure to obtain the relevant contact details of the responsible person.
High-touch areas are the facility areas and objects experiencing constant contact interactions, which may be overlooked during day-to-day cleaning.
The front of the house is the term used for the gym’s entrance and reception area. It’s the first impression members of potential customer’s get on entering the building. As you might expect, perception is everything, so it’s essential it’s clean. Staff should clean the front of the house regularly throughout the day.
High touchpoint spots:
Changing and toilet areas need regular inspection and cleaning.
High touchpoint spots:
Weight rooms usually have a high footfall leading to multiple touchpoints. Users of CV equipment will be sweating; the gym floor is the perfect environment to spread germs to other gym users. The gym floor and equipment should be cleaned daily and deep cleaned once a week. Gym members can play their part by wiping down equipment with a general-purpose cleaner, spray and wipe before and after each use. High touchpoint spots:
Cardio machines need a lot of extra attention to the nature of their use. Also, machines may need moving to use a vacuum cleaner to pick up dust and dirt. High touchpoint spots:
Employers have a duty of care to maintain members and employees’ safety in fitness environments. Duty of care is maintained by following current UK legislation and regulations. Meaning, employers must have a solid health and safety policy to follow, such as dealing with workplace incidents and who needs training. Also included are procedures for dealing with challenging particular customer behaviours, personal security and property and guidance on lone working.
Fitness employers must provide safe and secure environments to:
The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (also referred to as HSWA, the HSW Act, the 1974 Act or HASAWA) covers occupational health and safety in the UK. The Act contains the duties required for employers “to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare” of members of the public, employees, and the responsibilities they have to themselves and each other.
The act covers accidents that occur and safe activity requirements and ensures that it is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all their employees. For facilities with five or more employees, the Health and Safety at Work Act must be openly displayed and a copy of it to each employee.
To comply with the act, employers must:
It is against the law for employers to charge employees for any measures that they are required to provide in the interests of health and safety (e.g., personal protective equipment).
Employees have specific responsibilities too – they must:
An ‘Act’ is a UK law passed by both the House of Commons and the House of Lords.
Regulations are mandatory requirements contained within an act. Regulations set out how laws are interpreted and applied.
Primary employer duties include:
The main provisions of these Regulations require employers to provide:
The main provisions require employers to:
Better known as COSHH, the provision of this regulation requires employers to:
Employers are required to report a wide range of work-related incidents, injuries and diseases to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) or the nearest local authority environmental health department. The Regulations require an employer to record, in an accident book, the date and time of the incident, details of the person(s) affected, the nature of their injury or condition, their occupation, the place where the event occurred and a brief note on what happened.
Requires employers to provide adequate and appropriate equipment, facilities, and personnel to ensure their employees receive immediate attention if they are injured or taken ill at work. These regulations apply to all workplaces, including those with less than five employees and the self-employed.
The regulations include:
Regulations require employers to ensure that safety signs are provided (or are in place) and maintained in circumstances where there is a significant risk to health and safety that has not been removed or controlled by other methods. This is only appropriate where the use of a sign can further reduce the risk. Employers must consider the results of the risk assessment.
Gym owners, by UK law, must carry out a risk assessment as part of their provision. The aim is to identify the most obvious hazards and take steps to minimise them.
A typical assessment involves the following:
Keeping members and staff safe is essential as if there is an accident, the business could face a hefty fine or even criminal prosecution.
There are several measures all employers must consider:
Maintain equipment in working order: Centres must check that equipment is in good working order ready to use.
Health and safety training is necessary for all employees to include first aid training.
New members may require increased guidance. The easiest solution is to provide a facility induction. Inductions allow members to know more about using the facility, feel more confident in using the gym equipment, understand the emergency protocols when needed and provide members with information on additional services.
Emergency operating procedures are the guidelines that employees need to follow when there is an emergency incident at their facility. The procedures form part of an employee’s training and development. Centres will rehearse drills and set up scenarios as part of the training.
All employees must know what to do in the event of an emergency.
Procedure types include:
Guidance in the event of the fire:
In the event of a major first aid incident, the EOP details the following information:
The EOP covers emergency evacuations by giving guidance such as what to do in the event of a fire or chemical link.
The EOP details who is responsible for calling the emergency services, such as fire or a major first aid incident.
The EOP must have a straightforward procedure for dealing with theft and damage to property to include:
Waste is anything thrown away. The management of waste is contained in The Waste Management Licensing Regulations 1994. The regulation contains a list of substances and objects that are legally considered to be waste. Waste fits into three broad categories:
Hazardous waste is waste that is harmful to human health and the environment due to its properties.
[IMAGE 1] Labels of hazardous waste
Hazardous products typically found in facilities include:
By UK law, hazardous materials require clear labelling by manufacturers so that final users of the product can quickly identify them.
Non-Hazardous wastes are waste that does not present an immediate danger to human health. However, depending on how the waste is disposed of, it could present a danger to the environment. Examples of non-hazardous waste typically found in gyms include:
The above waste types can be recycled and are discussed in another section.
There are four methods of disposing of hazardous waste:
More details on guidelines for disposing of hazardous waste, visit https://www.gov.uk/dispose-hazardous-waste
To benefit the environment, centre’s will have a recycling policy for waste.
Recyclable waste includes:
Facilities have bins for different waste types. Plastic for plastic, aluminium cans for aluminium cans and glass for glass. Waste must be separated and placed in the correct bin.
Being only one cell thick, capillaries are the smallest type of blood vessel, so they’re incredibly thin. Blood pressure within the capillaries is very low (otherwise you would bleed to death), declining along their length from less than 35mmHg to about 18mmHg.
The thin walls allow oxygen, nutrients and carbon dioxide to exchange (via diffusion) between the capillaries and the body’s cells and from the body’s cells to the capillaries.
The role of veins is to carry mainly deoxygenated blood towards the heart. However, the pulmonary vein is the exception, carrying oxygenated blood from the lungs to the left atrium.
Venous pressure is low, only about 18mmHg from the venules to the right atrium. Due to the low pressure, veins have thin walls and a large lumen. The low pressure in veins means blood would struggle to return to the heart without a sufficient mechanism to aid return. Fortunately, several mechanisms assist venous return to the right atrium, which enable them to deal with low blood pressure flow. One striking feature is that veins below the heart level are lined with non-return valve structures. Once blood is pumped through the valve system, they shut, stopping any backflow of blood which would otherwise pool in the lower extremities.