Gym Safety During COVID-19

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For the health and safety of gym members and staff, major guidelines have been put in place all over the country due to COVID-19.

Worker Training:

Gyms should now have additional training on the following topics.

  • COVID-19 information for prevention, spreading and what underlying conditions to look for.
  • Self-screening at home, including temperature and/or symptom checks using CDC guidelines.
  • Steps to take if worker identifies any symptoms in themselves or gym members such as fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. To seek medical attention if their symptoms become severe, including persistent pain or pressure in the chest, confusion, or bluish lips or face. Updates and further details are available on the CDC’s webpage.
  • The importance of frequent handwashing with soap and water, including scrubbing with soap for 20 seconds; or using hand sanitizer with at least 60% ethanol (preferred) or 70% isopropanol (if the product is inaccessible to unsupervised children) when workers cannot get to a sink or handwashing station, per CDC guidelines.
  • The importance of physical distancing, both at work and off work time (see Physical Distancing section below).
  • Proper use of face coverings, including:
    • Face coverings do not protect the wearer and are not personal protective equipment.
    • Face coverings can help protect people near the wearer, but do not replace the need for physical distancing and frequent handwashing.
    • Face coverings must cover the nose and mouth.
    • Workers should wash or sanitize hands before and after using or adjusting face coverings.
    • Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth.
    • Face coverings must not be shared and should be washed or discarded after each shift.

Gym Cleaning:

  • Evaluate the existing cleaning and disinfecting protocols for the fitness facility.
  • Develop a detailed schedule and adjust or modify operating hours to provide adequate time for regular, thorough cleaning and disinfecting throughout the day.
  • Perform thorough cleaning throughout the day in high traffic areas.
  • Frequently disinfect commonly used surfaces.
  • Provide time for workers to implement cleaning practices during their shift.
  • Equip entrances and exits, exercise machines, fitness rooms, changing rooms and locker rooms, and other areas with proper sanitation products, including hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes.
  • Require patrons to disinfect individual exercise equipment, mats, and machines before and after use with provided disinfecting wipes.
  • Consider implementing a check-out system for patrons to utilize any small equipment and accessories (i.e. exercise bands, ropes, mats, foam rollers, etc.). Develop a process to clean and disinfect these items upon return.
  • Follow CDC guidelines to ensure that all water systems are safe to use after a prolonged facility shutdown to minimize the risk of Legionnaires’ disease and other diseases associated with water.
  • Where possible, do not clean floors by sweeping or other methods that can disperse pathogens into the air. Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter wherever possible.

Physical Distancing:

  • Implement measures to ensure physical distancing of at least six feet between and among workers and patrons. This can include use of physical partitions or visual cues.
  • Space equipment at least six feet apart, with greater distancing for treadmills and other high-exertion aerobic fitness equipment.
  • Equip the front desk area with Plexiglas or other impermeable barriers.
  • Evaluate maximum occupancy rules based on the size of the facility.

Locker Room and Restrooms:

  • Shared restroom facilities and locker rooms should be cleaned regularly throughout the day using EPA-registered disinfectants.
  • Create and post a cleaning schedule for the restroom facilities and locker rooms.
  • Only allow shower and locker room use if partitions are in place or signs have been posted to specify physical distancing requirements.
  • Ensure that sanitary facilities stay operational and are always continuously stocked . Provide additional soap, paper towels, and hand sanitizer when needed. Install hands-free devices.

The online JHA software, JSABuilder, is the tool to use to keep employees safe while on the job. JSABuilder walks users through eight simple steps to create an easy to follow job safety analysis or activity hazard analysis for all tasks. JSA worksheets and activity hazard analysis templates can be created for worker training, and proper gym cleaning and physical distancing procedures. Set up a free trial account today and follow us on Twitter @JSABuilder, where we Tweet about Health and Safety, provide Safety tips, and updates on current Health and Safety topics.