If you train clients remotely, you must be vigilant about safety in order to minimise risk of injury and potential legal claims of negligence.
In these very different times where ‘work from home’ and ‘complying with social distancing’ have become familiar terms, many fitness providers have turned to virtual classes and sessions.
These services have often been developed in quick responses to the ever-changing environment, while trying to maintain a strong level of customer focus.
While delivering exercise online for people to do in their own homes can help to maintain contact with customers, there are consequences to consider.
Injury prevention is key
A risk management strategy is an important factor, and could begin with an evaluation to identify the potential risks, whether they be physical, financial or legal, and then developing strategies to mitigate those risks. Educating your customers is an important consideration and can help decrease the risk of injury.
As a trainer, open the class with a statement for users to practice health and safety while they are participating in workouts in their homes.
Some of the following suggestions are precautions that you should already be familiar with from delivering in-person training, while others are more specific to virtual delivery.
- Advise clients or participants to go at their own pace
- Tell them that if they are experiencing pain, they should stop the activity
- Request that they wear comfortable clothing
- Tell them to make sure they have enough room around them and that there are no dangerous obstacles
- If equipment is needed for the session, advise what is required before getting started, e.g., chair, cushion
- Tell them to have water and a towel close by
- Always provide an alternative option to the exercise, e.g., easier, more challenging, so they can choose a level suited to them
- Provide instructions throughout the class, and count repetitions to avoid over-working one area
- If delivering classes or small group training, think about how you can structure sessions to offer different levels, e.g., beginner, intermediate, advanced, to cover all fitness abilities.
It is recommended you provide a disclaimer at the beginning of each virtual class, potentially in the form of an online registration form that includes a standard fitness waiver. If you have a website through which clients access online programs, it is recommended to have a written disclaimer on the site.
It should be remembered that many people’s physical activity over the past few months has changed. They may just be starting regular activity or resuming after a hiatus. Unfortunately, many people try to do too much too soon, and the result can be catastrophic.
It is a good idea to make sure you have the right insurance. Personal trainers should consider Professional Indemnity Insurance and Public Liability Insurance.
Professional Indemnity Insurance is for alleged breaches of a professional duty, such as a claim of professional negligent advice or misconduct, as part of providing professional services. For example, a fitness professional whose personal training services result in injury and loss to a client, resulting in the client alleging negligence.
Public Liability Insurance is for impacts to a third party (member of the public) that may result from negligence by you or your staff, such as failing to demonstrate reasonable care for others, resulting in injury to a member of the public.
At the end of the day, it is important to balance the amount of risk with the amount of reward. In the current environment, it is important to keep customers’ needs in mind.
However careful and cautious you are, incidents can occur. Should an issue arise, it is important to promptly contact your insurance broker for assistance.
This feature was written with Gallagher, an international insurance brokerage, risk management and consulting firm. You can discuss your fitness professional insurance needs with the Gallagher team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 1800 222 012