The health/fitness industry is an important contributor to the national preventative health policies against obesity and associated health risk factors. However, inappropriately designed programs and services can increase the risk of injuries and adverse health outcomes that can expose health/fitness facility operators and employees to risk of litigation. Therefore, the importance of comprehensive risk management in the health/fitness industry is pronounced. A cross-sectional survey of risk management practices in the health/fitness facilities in Queensland, Australia suggested that process related programmatic risk management practices were suboptimal, whereas ‘waivers’ and ‘insurance’ were implemented and valued the most. The findings highlight the need for the education and training of health/fitness facility managers in comprehensive risk management programs in the health/fitness facilities for reasonably safe services that can help to minimise the risk of legal liability.
Keywords: health/fitness industry, health/fitness facilities, legal liability, injury, risk management, emergency plans, insurance, waivers, public health policy, safety, Queensland, Australia