Owning a gym is a risky business due to the possibilities of physical injury. Many people don’t know they are putting themselves at risk for injury and blame the gym when something happens. Therefore, it’s a good idea to have each member and guest sign a disclaimer or waiver before they are allowed to participate in any activities.
The typical disclaimer begins by stating that every person should consult their physician before starting any exercise program or changing their diet. They acknowledge that they understand the risks of injury they may incur by using the gym and its equipment. Most disclaimers also state that using the equipment in any other manner than it is intended for absolves the gym of liability for injuries should the equipment malfunction or break.
The guest of a member acknowledges that any injuries, losses or damages they might incur on the premises are their responsibility; the gym, its instructors, trainers, partners and employees are not liable for any losses, injuries or damages that may occur on or near the premises.
A disclaimer of this type is particularly important if the gym has family activities. Tumbling classes for small children, boxing or martial arts classes for adolescents or young adults and other types of training and recreation can be particularly dangerous for children. By having the parent sign the disclaimer, they are declaring themselves responsible for the consequences of their offspring’s’ actions instead of holding the gym liable.
Since there is so much potential for injury due to carelessness or ignorance, all disclaimers should reflect the date that it was signed and be in force for a certain period of time. Most businesses make the disclaimer good for a year while others have it in force in perpetuity.
An advantage to limiting the time it is in force is that you can conduct an annual membership check to see if all the member’s medical and statistical information has remained the same; at that time, they can sign another disclaimer or initial the original with the date. This is a good way to keep track of your members and review their satisfaction with the service you are providing.
The following is an example of a simple gym disclaimer:
You should always consult your physician or other healthcare provider before changing your diet or starting an exercise program. I understand that there is a risk of injury associated with participating and using XYZ Gym.
I hereby assume full responsibility for any and all injuries, losses and damages that I incur while attending, exercising or participating in XYZ Gym. I hereby waive all claims against XYZ Gym, its instructors, or partners of individually or otherwise, for any and all injuries, claims or damages that I might incur.