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Fitness Australia explains role in developing industry safety standards

Fitness Australia explains role in developing industry safety standards
April 25, 2014

In the wake of media reports highlighting concerns about fitness centres failing to comply with industry guidelines to minimise the risk of injury when exercising, Fitness Australia has responded to industry calls to explain its role in encouraging the development and maintenance of standards within the industry.

Recently published research by Professor Caroline Finch, Head of the Centre for Healthy and Safe Sport at Victoria's Federation University, along with colleagues from Bond University, the University of South Australia, Sports Medicine Australia and Fitness Australia, found that almost a quarter of fitness centres were insufficiently aware of voluntary industry safety guidelines.

Introduced in 2012, the Adult Pre-Exercise Screening System (APSS) includes assessing a gym member's risk of cardiovascular disease, metabolic or respiratory illness, and getting clearance from a health professional.

Responding to call for levels of enforcement of the safety guidelines, Fitness Australia explained on its website:

1. Fitness Australia's core purpose is to encourage the development and maintenance of standards within the industry. Part of this role is to ensure that its members have access to the latest news, research and tools that will help them deliver safe and effective exercise programs to their clients.

2. That is why Fitness Australia has co-funded this important risk research that is the subject of the recent media attention.

This research will enable all of us to better understand the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for the health and fitness industry in terms of client risk and safety and to aid in the development of best practice risk mitigation protocols to assist the industry. As the research findings become available, we will work with the authors to develop a range of education seminars and practical tools to educate and support the industry. You can read more about the risk research here

This is a proactive and responsible approach to this important issue.

3. For the last two years, Fitness Australia has implemented a national Health and Fitness Industry Quality Awards system that recognises those businesses that have quality and safety assurance as their number one priority. This is now being implemented again for 2014 and you can read about it here.

You will note that every applicant is assessed by an independent organisation with expertise in quality systems across a range of criteria, including risk and safety. 

4. It is not appropriate for Fitness Australia to undertake or enforce checks on exercise professionals, nor is it appropriate for Fitness Australia to act as an umpire when the client and exercise professional are in dispute. This role is the responsibility of the employer and, in the case of an injury, the relevant authority, not the registration body. However, if an individual, or a business, flouts safety standards Fitness Australia can decide not to admit them onto the register and/or remove them from the register.

5. Fitness Australia is confident that most of its members understand that its guidelines and material such as the Adult Pre-Exercise Screening System (APSS) provide a clear process to inform safe and effective exercise programming. We hav e publicised APSS in our press material and in media interviews so that members of thepublic are aware of the importance of seeking out an APSS before embarking on their fitness journey and also to look for the Fitness Australia logo when considering choosing a fitness centre and to check the qualifications and registration or fitness instructors and trainers.

6. Please take the time to read through the new and subsequent eJournals and regular e-news to keep up to date with what Fitness Australia is doing to support the fitness industry and exercise professionals. Click here to access this information.

11th April 2014 - CONCERNS OVER FITNESS CLUBS FAILING TO COMPLY WITH INJURY MINIMISATION GUIDANCE 

15th August 2013 - FITNESS AUSTRALIA LAUNCHES EXERCISE REFERRAL KIT

11th May 2013 - SURVEY TO ASSESS RISK MANAGEMENT IN FITNESS 

4th November 2010 - FITNESS INDUSTRY PUTS CUSTOMER SAFETY FIRST 

5th October 2010 - ASSOCIATIONS JOINTLY ENDORSE NEW GUIDELINES FOR EXERCISE INTENSITY 

18th June 2009 - TREADMILLS TO WARN OF INJURY RISK TO CHILDREN


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