If you're contemplating joining a gym, you might be focused on its location or cost. But your safety and health are also important considerations. Good gyms have clear policies designed to protect the safety of their customers and staff. You'll also need to ensure you follow your gym's rules to retain your membership, because some gyms cancel contracts with people who repeatedly break safety rules. Pay attention to any posted signs around the gym and ask questions if you are unsure about any gym rules.
Your gym should be able to inform you about the specific training staff members have received. Personal trainers should have a background or certification in training, nutrition and safety, for example. Criminal background checks on staff can also be an important component of safety. While non-violent crimes might not put customers in danger, a staff member with a history of assault could easily take advantage of unsuspecting patrons. Ask your gym about its procedures for ensuring staff members are properly trained.
An equipment malfunction at a gym is a potentially fatal accident. If a machine falls as you're lifting it, you could end up with broken bones or a head injury from the weights. Properly-maintained equipment also helps you reduce the risk of less serious injuries by ensuring that the weight is properly distributed and the machines don't require unnecessary effort to use. Ask your gym about its equipment maintenance policies and report any malfunctioning equipment to a staff member immediately.
Health and Hygiene
Gyms can be cesspools for germs. Thus, the spread of infection is a concern because you're in close contact with other people and use equipment that might have been used by sick people. Ask your gym if it regularly sterilizes its equipment and if it has any illness policies. For example, people with some infections might not be allowed to use equipment or a sauna until the infection clears up. Wash your hands frequently and wipe down equipment with antibacterial wipes before using it. As a courtesy for other gym members, also wipe equipment after you've used it. If you're sick, stay away from the gym until you're well.
Accidents such as choking, heart attacks and muscular injuries can happen anywhere. But in a gym, where people are regularly exerting themselves, accidents are even more likely. At least one staffer should have training in basic CPR and emergency medical aid. Ask your gym about its emergency policies before signing up. Ask gym staff where first aid kits and defibrillators are located.
People often go to the gym alone and at night, making them targets for crime. Ensure all areas of your gym -- including the parking lot -- are well-lit. Ask about locker policies and see if someone can walk you to your car at night. Cameras in the gym can also reduce the risk of crime and help your gym catch criminals if they harm someone or steal property.