A liability waiver is a legal document that a person involved in a particular activity may sign as an acknowledgment of the risks involved in that particular activity. By signing the waiver, the signer typically waives legal liability to a business or a person. The enforceability of these waivers depends upon state law and the language of the waiver.


A major problem is the easy accessibility of waivers on the Internet for club owners to grab and call their own without first consulting a local attorney.  Some of these examples will work fine in one state but have no validity in another, often because of minor variances in laws and wording.  To assure validity, all waivers must be written and/or reviewed by an attorney.


In all cases, the following precautions must be taken when presenting a waiver to a client for signature:


  • The waiver must be printed on a stand-alone document.  No combination documents.

  • No waiver should ever be printed on the back of a document page without a signature section.

  • If you currently have a combined waiver and financial agreement then you must point that out to the client and have the client sign and/or initial both sections of the document signifying that they clearly understand that there are two documents combined into one.



No state allows minors to sign contracts or waivers on their own.  However, waivers carry much more validity in most states if the parent or guardian and the child both sign.  By having both parties sign a waiver, the parent or guardian demonstrates consent and approval of the child's participation and understanding of the risks involved.


Client pre-screening is a hot topic in the fitness industry and has been for quite some time.  The debate revolves around whether a club should ask all of its clients about their medical backgrounds or let them workout without the club knowing about any pre-existing conditions that may be adversely affected by exercise.


Incident reports are a means for documenting circumstances leading up to an incident or injury and the procedures taken by staff members to correct the situation.


  • For legal reasons, it is vital that an incident report be completed by staff members any time they are present at or summoned to the scene of an incident.  Additionally, it is very important that any witnesses at the scene have their statements documented as well.

  • Formatted, blank reports must be kept on file at the facility at all times.  All managers must know how to properly fill out an incident report.  The manager on duty must complete the report as soon as the incident has been contained and any injured party has either left on their own or been transferred to a medical facility.

  • NEVER admit or assume that the club is “responsible” when an incident occurs.  The insurance company will determine any negligence.  The club's responsibility is to report the incident and to make sure the injured party receives the medical attention needed.



Maintenance Schedules serve two purposes.  The first is to help maintain equipment on daily, weekly and monthly schedules in order to keep it in top condition and prevent equipment failure which could lead to client dissatisfaction or worse, a client injury.  The second is to assign and dictate duties to staff members involving basic cleaning and lubricating procedures on exercise equipment.  Maintenance Schedules should clearly state what pieces of equipment should be cleaned and lubricated and by what frequency by a staff members.



Maintenance logs are a means of documenting major repairs performed on exercise equipment.  Maintenance logs can help provide proof that management has followed manufacturer's recommendations and used certified replacement parts when repairing equipment.  The document should indicate who performed the work, what repairs were made, what type of parts were used, and the date the work was completed.


If the facility uses an outside maintenance company for repairs then invoices from the company can be used as proof of maintenance.  As with incident reporting, maintenance logs should be kept on file for at least 3 years.

© 2021 by The Sport Management Group, Inc. 

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