Gyms & Fitness Centres

Gyms & Fitness Centres

This page includes resources for workplaces such as gyms and fitness centres (including personal training, group fitness classes and bootcamps) on work health and safety, workers’ compensation and COVID-19. Gyms and fitness centres involve workers who direct, instruct, and guide individuals or groups in physical fitness or exercise training programs. Workers are mainly engaged in:


  • developing and designing fitness program for indoor or outdoor activities

  • delivering group fitness training programs or personal tuition in a variety of physical fitness activities, including martial arts, dance, yoga etc.

  • delivering group physical workouts


Work may be undertaken indoors in gyms, fitness centres and studios or outdoors, such as in public parks and other open spaces.

To ensure this information is as accessible and easy to understand as possible, we refer to ‘employers’ and their responsibilities. However, both provincial and state OHS legislation, duties apply to any person conducting a business which includes employers, but also others who engage workers.

Duties Under OHS Legislation

There are current public health directions restricting business operations in some jurisdictions both in Canada and the United States. If you want to know what restrictions on business operations apply to your workplace, go to your relevant provincial or state government website. Businesses must only operate to the extent permissible in each province or state. The information provided below outlines measures which cover all aspects of services offered by the industry – depending on what is permissible in your jurisdiction, some sections may not be currently relevant to your business. 

 

If you want to know how OHS legislation apply to you or need help with what to do at your workplace, contact us on 1 866 337 4734 or through our online contact form.

OHS legislation requires you to take care of the health, safety and welfare of your workers, including yourself and other staff, contractors and volunteers, and others (clients, customers, visitors) at your workplace. This includes:


  • providing and maintaining a work environment that is without risk to health and safety

  • providing adequate and accessible facilities for the welfare of workers to carry out their work, and

  • monitoring the health of workers and the conditions of the workplace for the purpose of preventing illness or injury


Duty to workers


You must do what you can to ensure the health and safety of your workers. You must eliminate the risk of exposure to COVID-19 if reasonably practicable. If you are not able to eliminate the risk of exposure to COVID-19, you must minimise that risk, as far as is reasonably practicable. Protect workers from the risk of exposure to COVID-19 by, for example:


  • considering working from home arrangements

  • requiring workers to practice physical distancing

  • requiring workers to practice good hygiene (e.g., through workplace policies and ensuring access to adequate and well stocked hygiene facilities)

  • requiring workers to stay home when sick, and

  • cleaning the workplace regularly and thoroughly


Duty to other people in the workplace


You must ensure the work of your business does not put the health and safety of other persons (such as customers, clients and visitors) at risk of contracting COVID-19. Protect others from the risk of exposure to COVID-19 by, for example:


  • requiring them to practice physical distancing, including through contactless deliveries and payments

  • requiring them to practice good hygiene, and

  • requiring others to stay away from the workplace, unless essential (such as family, friends and visitors)


Duty to maintain the workplace and facilities


You must maintain your workplace to ensure the work environment does not put workers and others at risk of contracting COVID-19. Maintain a safe work environment by, for example:


  • cleaning the workplace regularly and thoroughly

  • restructuring the layout of the workplace to allow for physical distancing, and

  • limiting the number of people in the workplace at any given time


You must also provide adequate facilities in your workplace to protect your workers from contracting COVID-19. Facilities that are required include:


  • washroom facilities including adequate supply of soap, water and paper towel

  • hand sanitiser, where it is not possible for workers to wash their hands, and

  • staff rooms that are regularly cleaned and allow for physical distancing


Provide workers with regular breaks to use these facilities, particularly to allow workers to wash their hands.


Duty to provide information, training, instruction and supervision


You must provide your workers with any information or training that is necessary to protect them from the risk of exposure to COVID-19 arising from their work. Information and training may include:


  • providing guidance on how to properly wash hands

  • training workers in how to fit and use any necessary personal protective equipment (PPE)

  • training workers to exercise adequate cleaning practices throughout the day

  • providing workers with instructions on how to set up a safe home workplace, and

  • providing workers with instructions on staying home from work if sick


Duty to consult


You must consult with workers on health and safety matters relating to COVID-19. When consulting, you must give workers the opportunity to express their views and raise OHS concerns. You must take the views of workers into account and advise workers of the outcome of consultation.


Consult with workers:


  • when you conduct a risk assessment

  • when you make decisions on control measures to use to manage the risk of exposure to COVID-19 (e.g. decisions on working from home arrangements, or restricting the workplace to allow for physical distancing)

  • when you make decisions about the adequacy of the workplace facilities to allow for control measures such as physical distancing and hygiene

  • when you propose other changes that may affect the health and safety of workers, and

  • when you change any procedures that have an impact on the OHS of workers


If you and the workers have agreed to procedures for consultation, consultation must be in accordance with those procedures. You must allow workers to express their views and raise OHS issues that may arise directly or indirectly because of COVID-19. You must take the views of workers into account when making decisions and advise workers of your decision.


Workers are most likely to know about the risks of their work. Involving them will help build commitment to your processes and any changes you implement. Consultation does not require consensus or agreement but you must allow your workers to be part of the decision making process. If workers are represented by health and safety representatives you must include them in the consultation process.


Resources and support


For more information on how we can help, select CONTACT US below or call toll free on 866 337 4734 to arrange an appointment with one of our experienced team members today.


Hygiene

There are current public health directions restricting business operations in some jurisdictions both in Canada and the United States. If you want to know what restrictions on business operations apply to your workplace, go to your relevant provincial or state government website. Businesses must only operate to the extent permissible in each province or state. The information provided below outlines measures which cover all aspects of services offered by the industry – depending on what is permissible in your jurisdiction, some sections may not be currently relevant to your business. 

 

If you want to know how OHS legislation apply to you or need help with what to do at your workplace, contact us on 1 866 337 4734 or through our online contact form.

The main way COVID-19 spreads from person to person is through contact with respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The droplets may fall directly onto the person’s eyes, nose or mouth if they are in close contact with the infected person. Airborne transmission of COVID-19 can also occur, with the greatest risk in indoor, crowded and inadequately ventilated spaces. A person may also be infected if they touch a surface contaminated with the COVID-19 virus and then touch their mouth, nose or eyes before washing their hands. Research shows that the COVID-19 virus can survive on some surfaces for prolonged periods of time.


A key way you can protect workers and others from the risk of exposure to COVID-19 is by requiring workers and others to practice good hygiene. Below are measures to ensure good hygiene in your workplace. Remember, you must consult with workers and health and safety representatives on health and safety matters relating to COVID-19, including what control measures to put in place in your workplace.


Worker and visitor hygiene


You must direct your workers, customers and others in the workplace to practice good hygiene while at the workplace. Good hygiene requires everyone to wash their hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and dry them completely, preferably with clean, single-use paper towels. If paper towels are unavailable, other methods such as electric hand dryers can be used, however, hands will still need to be dried completely.


Everyone must wash and dry their hands:


  • before and after eating

  • after coughing or sneezing

  • after going to the toilet, and

  • when changing tasks and after touching potentially contaminated surfaces.


An alcohol-based hand sanitiser with at least 60% ethanol or 70% isopropanol as the active ingredient must be used as per the manufacturer’s instructions when it is not possible to wash hands. Good hygiene also requires everyone at the workplace to, at all times:


  • cover their coughs and sneezes with their elbow or a clean tissue (and no spitting)

  • avoid touching their face, eyes, nose and mouth

  • dispose of tissues and cigarette butts hygienically, e.g. in closed bins

  • wash their hands and dry completely before and after smoking a cigarette

  • wash their hands and dry completely before and after and training sessions and use hand sanitiser between touching equipment

  • clean and disinfect shared equipment and plant after use

  • wash body, hair (including facial hair) and clothes thoroughly every day

  • have no intentional physical contact, for example, shaking hands and patting backs.


To enhance good hygiene outcomes:


  • develop infection control policies in consultation with your workers. These policies should outline measures in place to prevent the spread of infectious diseases at the workplace. Communicate these policies to workers. Consider requesting workers such as those who administer first aid to undertake infection control training and train all workers about the importance of washing their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and drying them correctly, or using an alcohol-based hand sanitiser, before entering and exiting a common area

  • place posters near hand washing facilities showing how to correctly wash and dry hands (for example, if hand dryers are used, place posters advising that hands should be dried completely before finishing) and clean hands with sanitiser

  • inform workers of workplace hygiene standards that are expected when using common areas (cleaning up after yourself, placing rubbish in bins provided, avoiding putting items such as phones on meal surfaces, etc.)

  • encourage contactless payment or sign-in where possible

  • provide alcohol-based hand sanitiser in appropriate locations for patrons to use, such as entry and exit points and in areas where equipment is used often (e.g. weights area), as well as disinfectant wipes for members to use to wipe down touch points of exercise equipment before and after use

  • allow sufficient time between group fitness classes and personal training sessions so all equipment can be properly cleaned after use, and

  • if members are required to clean gym or fitness equipment after use, provide sufficient supplies of cleaning products and provide instruction and supervision to make sure that equipment is properly cleaned.


Member hygiene standards


You should implement processes to ensure clients do not to enter the gym, fitness centre or group fitness class if they:


  • are experiencing symptoms linked to COVID-19 such as fever, cough or shortness of breath or

  • have been in close contact with someone who is confirmed as having COVID-19 or is experiencing symptoms linked to COVID-19.


To ensure clients do not attend the gym, fitness centre or group fitness class if they or a close contact are unwell, inform clients of these expectations when booking classes or through email and social media accounts. You should also display signs outside the entrance to the gym, fitness centre or group fitness class informing clients of your expectations and not to enter the workplace if they or a close contact are unwell.


You should also inform clients of hygiene standards that are expected when they attend the gym, fitness or sports and recreational centre or group fitness class. This includes:


  • washing and completely drying their hands or using alcohol-based hand sanitiser upon arrival and before and after using gym equipment

  • where you normally require members to wipe down equipment after use, ask them to now use disinfectant wipes before and after use and ensure suitable products are readily available. Inform members not to use their towel to wipe down exercise equipment. You will also need to review and amend your routine workplace cleaning processes for equipment which should be in addition to cleaning undertaken by members. See also our information on cleaning

  • using a clean towel each time they attend their session or class, washing gym clothes and towels after each session
    bringing additional clean towels to lay on equipment benches and seats (you will have to consider any safety risks that may arise from this)

  • encouraging members to bring their own drink bottles and closing water fountains and bubblers. Remind members to ensure their drink bottle should not touch any part of the tap or the water cooler/dispenser should they wish to re-fill their water bottle.

  • encouraging members to bring their own equipment where possible – e.g. yoga mats, boxing gloves, and
    not touching or sharing others’ personal items or equipment unless necessary.


See also our information on hygiene measures for early childhood education if your workplace provides child caring facilities. You should put processes in place to regularly monitor and review the implementation of hygiene measures to ensure they are being followed and remain effective. You must also review your cleaning processes for equipment and other high touch points.


Hygiene facilities


You must ensure there are adequate and accessible facilities for both members and clients to achieve good hygiene and that they are in good working order, are clean and are otherwise safe.


Member facilities


You should minimise use of change rooms and shower areas where possible by encouraging members to only use them if they need to. You should also check whether public health directions in your province or state restrict the use of such facilities. Instead encourage members to enter the gym, fitness or sports and recreational centre or group fitness class already dressed in their workout gear where possible and shower at home.

You must also consider whether there are an adequate number of hand washing and drying stations, in convenient locations, to sustain the increase in members practicing good hygiene. You may need to provide alcohol-based hand sanitiser in appropriate locations, such as entry and exits, if there are limited hand washing facilities available.


You should also consider opening windows or adjusting air-conditioning for more ventilation in common areas, and limiting or reducing recirculated air-conditioning where possible. If change room and other facilities remain open you must ensure facilities are properly stocked and where applicable, have adequate supplies of toilet paper, soap, water, and drying facilities (preferably single-use paper towels). They must also be kept clean and in good working order. If these toilets are shared with other tenancies, you may not be able to implement all of the control measures yourself but must work with others to ensure those measures are put in place.


Ensure members practice good hygiene measures when using these facilities. You must also undertake additional cleaning and disinfecting measures.


Worker facilities


You may need to provide additional washing facilities, change rooms and break facilities to workers. You must also consider whether there are an adequate number of hand washing and drying stations, in convenient locations, to sustain the increase in workers practicing good hygiene. You may need to provide alcohol-based hand sanitiser in appropriate locations, such as entry and exits, if there are limited hand washing facilities available.


Washroom facilities must be properly stocked and have adequate supplies of toilet paper, soap, water, and drying facilities (preferably single-use paper towels). They must also be kept clean and in good working order.


When determining what facilities you need, consider the number of workers on site, the shift arrangements and when access to these facilities is required.  If you have temporarily down-sized worker numbers in response to COVID-19 and these will now be increased, you must take this into account to determine the facilities you need before workers return to work.


I need to create a new eating or common area. What should I consider when making these new areas?


If creating a new eating or common area to enable physical distancing, you must ensure these areas are accessible from the workplace and adequately equipped (e.g drinking water, rubbish bins), and protected from the elements, contaminants and hazards. You should also consider opening windows or adjusting air-conditioning for more ventilation in common areas, and limiting or reducing recirculated air-conditioning where possible.


Why are paper towels preferred over hand dryers?


Paper towels are preferable as they can reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 by drying the hands more thoroughly than hand dryers. Hand dryers can still be used, however, there is an increased risk of transmission if hands are not dried properly.


I am providing paper towels in my workplace. What else should I do?


Providing paper towels to dry your hands after washing them is better than using hand dryers because they can dry your hands more thoroughly. If you provide single used paper towels at your workplace, remember:


  • the paper towels should be replenished as required, and

  • used paper towels should be disposed of in a waste bin that is regularly emptied to keep the area clean, tidy and safe.


Wastes (including used paper towels) should be double bagged and set aside in a safe place for at least 72 hours before disposal into general waste facilities. 


What if I can’t provide paper towels?


If paper towels cannot be provided, then hand dryers may be used to dry hands. You must train workers on how to dry their hands. Placing posters near hand dryers may assist with communicating the need for hands to be dried completely. If hands are not dried completely, good hygiene will not be achieved, and the hand washing will be ineffective.


Frequently touched areas of the hand dryers (i.e. buttons to activate the drying mechanism of the hand dryer) and the entire body of the dryer should be cleaned regularly. Nearby surfaces (such as the sink and taps) should also be cleaned regularly to remove any germs that may have been spread when drying hands.


Resources and support


For more information on how we can help, select CONTACT US below or call toll free on 866 337 4734 to arrange an appointment with one of our experienced team members today.

Physical Distancing

There are current public health directions restricting business operations in some jurisdictions both in Canada and the United States. If you want to know what restrictions on business operations apply to your workplace, go to your relevant provincial or state government website. Businesses must only operate to the extent permissible in each province or state. The information provided below outlines measures which cover all aspects of services offered by the industry – depending on what is permissible in your jurisdiction, some sections may not be currently relevant to your business. 

 

If you want to know how OHS legislation apply to you or need help with what to do at your workplace, contact us on 1 866 337 4734 or through our online contact form.

What is physical distancing and how does it prevent the spread of COVID-19?


Physical distancing (also referred to as ‘social distancing’) refers to the requirement that people distance themselves from others. COVID-19 spreads from person to person through contact with droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The droplets may fall directly into the person’s eyes, nose or mouth if they are in close contact with the infected person. A person may also be infected if they touch a surface contaminated with the droplets and then touch their mouth, nose or eyes before washing their hands.


Current health advice states that in order to reduce the risk of contact and droplet spread from a person, directly or indirectly, and from contaminated surfaces, people should maintain physical distance of at least 2 metres, practice good hand hygiene and engage in routine cleaning and disinfection of surfaces.


Physical distancing can also include requirements for there to be 4 square metres of space per person in a room or enclosed space, as well as limits on gathering sizes. These requirements differ between industries and between provinces and states. For example, some provinces and states have updated public health directions to adjust physical distancing rules in line with local circumstances, such as revising the one person per 4 square metres rule to one person per 2 square metres in some circumstances. For more information about physical distancing requirements applicable to your business, go to your relevant provincial or state government website.


Do I need to implement physical distancing measures in my workplace?


Yes. It is your duty under work health and safety laws to manage the risk of a person in your workplace spreading and contracting COVID-19, including the risk that persons with COVID-19 enter the workplace. Physical distancing is one of the key ways to lower the risk of COVID-19 being spread or contracted at your workplace.


The risk of COVID-19 should be treated in the same way as any other workplace hazard – by applying a risk management approach. In consultation with your workers, including volunteers, and their representatives (e.g. health and safety representatives (HSRs)), you will need to assess the likelihood and degree of harm people may experience if exposed to COVID-19 and then implement the most effective control measures that are reasonably practicable to manage the risk. The control measures you implement should include outcomes that support physical distancing and operate alongside measures encouraging good hygiene amongst workers and others as well as regular and thorough cleaning of the workplace.


To meet your OHS duty you should be continually monitoring and reviewing the risks to the health and safety of workers and others, as well as the effectiveness of control measures put in place to eliminate or minimise these risks. You must also assess any new or changed risks arising from COVID-19, for example customer aggression, high work demand or working in isolation. You may also need to comply with physical distancing measures issued under public health directions in your province or state. Each province and state has directions that reflect local circumstances. For more information about physical distancing requirements, go to your relevant provincial or state government website.


How do the public health directions in my province or state interact with my OHS duty?


You must comply with your province or state’s public health directions that apply to your business. Your OHS duty is to do all that you reasonably can to manage the risks of a person contracting and/or spreading COVID-19 in your workplace. Depending on the circumstances, you may need to implement control measures in order to meet your OHS duty that go beyond the minimum requirements stated in public health directions or advised by public health authorities. For example, public health directions may state you can have up to 10 customers in your shop at any one time. However, in undertaking your risk assessment you may determine that due to the layout of the workplace and your work processes, having 10 customers in the store would not effectively support physical distancing outcomes. Instead, limiting your store to 8 customers at a time would ensure everyone can maintain a physical distance of 2 metres from each other.


How do I determine which physical distancing measures to implement to minimise the risk of COVID 19 spreading in my workplace?


To determine which physical distancing measures will be most effective in your workplace, you will need to undertake a risk assessment. A risk assessment is part of the risk management process which involves identifying where the risk arises in your workplace, assessing the risks (including the likelihood of them happening), controlling the risks and reviewing these controls regularly. These steps remain the same whether you are conducting a risk assessment in relation to work health and safety generally, or specifically in relation to COVID-19. In order to determine the most effective physical distancing measures you will need to:


  • identify all activities or situations where people in your workplace may be in close proximity to each other

  • assess the level of risk that people in these activities or situations may contract and/or spread COVID-19 in your workplace, and

  • determine what control measures are reasonably practicable to implement based on the assessed level of risk


Remember, you must consult with workers, including volunteers, and their representatives (e.g. health and safety representatives) on health and safety matters relating to COVID-19, including what control measures to put in place in your workplace.


What physical distancing measures do I need to implement in my workplace?


Below are suggested measures to ensure physical distancing is achieved in your industry. Certain activities may not be permissible or there may be specific requirements in your province or state at this time and therefore some of the proposed measures may not be relevant to your workplace. For more information about physical distancing requirements, go to your relevant provincial or state government website.


Remember, you must do all that is reasonably practicable to manage the risk of people contracting and/or spreading COVID-19. Also remember, you must consult with workers and their representatives (e.g. health and safety representatives (HSRs)) on health and safety matters relating to COVID-19, including what control measures to put in place in your workplace.


Reception and waiting areas in gyms, fitness centres and group fitness studios


  • if your reception or waiting area is in an enclosed space separate to the group fitness room or gym or training floor, provide each person with 4 square metres of space in accordance with general health advice or where required by public health directions issued by your province or state

  • to achieve 4 square metres, calculate the area of the enclosed space (length multiplied by width in metres) and divide by 4. This will provide you with the maximum number of people you should have in the space at any one time.  To help achieve 4 square metres of space per person stagger class session times and allow for a minimum of 10 minutes between classes so there is no overlap between members in the waiting or reception area or have different entrances and exits to avoid interaction
    if the waiting or reception area for your group fitness class is particularly small ask members to wait in their cars or outside (if safe to do) until the class before them has finished

  • cordon off common areas where members may otherwise congregate

  • split or stagger workers’ shifts to reduce the number of workers in reception areas at any given time. Schedule time between shifts so that there is no overlap of staff arriving at and leaving the workplace or have different entrances and exits to avoid interaction

  • direct workers and members to keep 2 metres of distance between them in accordance with general health advice where possible or where required by public health directions in your province or state. 


To achieve the best outcomes for physical distancing:


  • put signs around the reception area including outside the entrance and create floor markings to identify 2 metres distance. Your staff could wear a badge as a visual reminder to each other and members of physical distancing requirements

  • establish entry and exit walkways and clearly mark these with adequate signage

  • use physical barriers, such as clear perspex where appropriate

  • consider whether you can implement measures to limit the number of members gathering around lockers or pigeon holes

  • encourage workers to use other methods such as mobile phone or radio to communicate rather than face to face interaction - e.g. workers on the gym floor who want to talk to reception

  • you may need to redesign the layout of the reception or waiting area to enable members and workers to keep at least 2 metres apart while exercising. This can be achieved by spreading out furniture. If changing the physical layout of the facility, your layout must allow for workers and members to enter, exit and move about both under normal working conditions and in an emergency without risks to their health and safety so far as is reasonably practicable

  • if members are required to sign-in consider whether they can do so using contactless methods.If using an electronic device or you require members to sign in using pen and paper, provide alcohol-based hand sanitiser for members to use before and after signing in and out

  • keep member contact details up to date and retain attendance records for classes and general entry. This may assist local health authorities if contact tracing is required


Change rooms and shower areas in gym, fitness centres and group fitness studios


  • you should minimise use of change rooms and shower areas where possible by encouraging members to only use them if they need to. You should also check whether public health directions in your province or state restrict the use of such facilities

  • encourage members to enter the gym or class already dressed in their workout gear where possible and to shower at home

  • as change rooms and shower areas are enclosed areas you should provide each person with 4 square metres of space in accordance with general health advice or where required by public health directions issued by your province or state. To achieve this, calculate the area of the enclosed space (length multiplied by width in metres) and divide by 4. This will provide you with the maximum number of people you should have in the space at any one time


To help you achieve 4 square metres of space per person in change rooms:


  • restrict the number of members allowed in the facility at any one time - place signage clearly displaying maximum occupancy numbers at the entrance

  • ask members to leave the facility once they have finished.

  • direct members to keep 2 metres of distance between themselves where possible when using change rooms and shower facilities in accordance with general health advice


To achieve the best outcomes for physical distancing:


  • implement measures in combination with measures for 4 square metres spacing, as set out above
    put signs in and around the facilities and create wall or floor markings to identify 2 metres distance

  • consider restricting the use of every second locker - where this is not possible, ask users to wait in an appropriate place away from their locker, when a locker next to theirs is being used

  • spread out furniture such as benches and chairs in change rooms. If changing the physical layout of the facility, your layout must allow for workers and members to enter, exit and move about both under normal working conditions and in an emergency without risks to their health and safety so far as is reasonably practicable

  • if change room and other facilities remain open you must undertake additional cleaning and disinfecting measures


Gym and training floor areas


  • provide each person with 4 square metres of space in enclosed areas in accordance with general health advice or where required by public health directions issued by your province or state. Depending on the layout of your gym or fitness centre you may have multiple enclosed training floors or areas – e.g. if your cardio area and free weights area are divided by a wall (whether that wall be temporary or fixed) the rule would apply separately to each area

  • to achieve 4 square metres, calculate the area of the enclosed space (length multiplied by width in metres) and divide by 4. This will provide you with the maximum number of people you should have in the space at any one time


To help you achieve 4 square metres of space per person limit the number of workers and members on the gym or training floor area by:


  • restricting the number of members allowed in particular areas. Place signage advising members of how many people are allowed in the area.

  • implementing ‘fitness sessions’ for particular areas with requirements for members to register (ideally online) for specific sessions – e.g. for an indoor rock climbing or bouldering centre, consider setting up sessions of one hour to limit the number of people who will be in the climbing areas at any given time

  • setting up a system whereby members can check online whether the gym or fitness centre is at capacity before visiting if you have the technology to do so. This may also help minimise the risk of workplace violence occurring if members are denied entry on arrival. See also our information on work-related violence

  • asking members to leave the premises once they have completed their workout session, and

  • restricting membership recruitment programs e.g. ‘bring a friend for free’ days

  • direct workers and members to keep 2 metres of distance between them in accordance with general health advice where possible or where required by public health directions in your province or state

  • the nature of some physical activities may result in members naturally maintaining distance (e.g. trampolining workouts). However, you should still implement the measures below to remind workers and members of distancing requirements

  • to achieve the best outcomes for physical distancing implement measures in combination with measures for 4 square metres spacing, as set out above
    put signs around the gym or training floor area and create wall or floor markings to identify 2 metres distance. Your staff could wear a badge as a visual reminder to each other and members of physical distancing requirements

  • encourage workers to use other methods such as mobile phone or radio to communicate rather than face to face interaction - e.g. workers on the gym floor who want to talk to reception

  • you may need to redesign the layout of gym or training floor area to enable members and workers to keep at least 2 metres apart while exercising. This can be achieved by:increasing spacing between fitness equipment. If this is not possible you may have to restrict access to certain pieces of equipment to enable members to maintain 2 metres between each other – e.g. restrict access to every second treadmill by turning them off and placing signs on them stating they are not to be used

  • removing or cordoning off common areas where members may otherwise congregate

  • creating specific pathways for entering and exiting areas using floor or wall markings or physical barriers to direct foot traffic

  • where available, using any outdoor space by relocating more readily moved equipment outside where weather permits and it is safe to do so – e.g. yoga mats

  • spreading out more popular equipment throughout the premises to use less frequently used areas, where safe to do so – e.g. can treadmills lined up side by side be relocated

  • if changing the physical layout of the gym or training floor area, your layout must allow for workers and members to enter, exit and move about both under normal working conditions and in an emergency without risks to their health and safety so far as is reasonably practicable


Group fitness classes (including boxing, martial arts, yoga, dancing etc.)


  • provide each person with 4 square metres of space in enclosed areas in accordance with general health advice or where required by public health directions issued by your province or state. To achieve this, calculate the area of the enclosed space (length multiplied by width in metres) and divide by 4. This will provide you with the maximum number of people you should have in the space at any one time

  • to help you achieve 4 square metres of space per person limit the number of persons in the class by staggering class session times and allowing for a minimum of 10 minutes between classes so there is no overlap between members arriving and leaving and to carry out cleaning and disinfecting procedures

  • where possible, offering some classes online

  • considering an online system to sign up to the class beforehand which limits capacity to the required numbers

  • this will eliminate the possibility of members turning up for class only to be told it is full and may also help minimise the risk of workplace violence occurring. See also our information on work-related violence

  • restricting the number of persons allowed per class based on the size of the room and the nature of the fitness activity

  • asking members to leave the premises once they have completed their session or class

  • restricting membership recruitment programs e.g. ‘bring a friend for free’ days

  • direct workers and members to keep 2 metres of distance between them in accordance with general health advice or where required by public health directions issued by your province or state

  • the nature of some physical activities may result in members naturally maintaining distance (e.g. power yoga classes). However, you should still implement the below measures to remind workers and members of distancing requirements

  • to achieve the best outcomes for physical distancing implement measures in combination with measures for 4 square metres spacing, as set out above

  • put signs around the group fitness room and create wall or floor markings to identify 2 metres distance. Your staff could wear a badge as a visual reminder to each other and members of physical distancing requirements

  • ensure class participants are adequately spread out around the room – e.g. use floor markings to indicate areas/zones for each person to set up in or use

  • encourage  workers to use other methods such as mobile phone or radio to communicate rather than face to face interaction

  • you may need to suspend or modify activities that require close contact, unless the activities take place between members of the same household. For example in a martial arts or boxing class you may need to suspend sparring and use long or short bags instead of partner drills that involve glove and mitt/striking pads

  • you may need to redesign the layout of group fitness areas to enable class participants and workers to keep at least 2 metres apart while exercising. This can be achieved by increasing spacing between fitness equipment such as exercise bikes

  • creating specific pathways for entering and exiting the group fitness rooms, using floor or wall markings

  • where appropriate, use available outdoor space for classes where weather permits and it is safe to do so

  • if changing the physical layout of group fitness rooms, your layout must allow for workers and members to enter, exit and move about both under normal working conditions and in an emergency without risks to their health and safety so far as is reasonably practicable


Personal training including gym-based, outdoor or bootcamps


  • Personal trainers and clients should keep 2 metres of distance between them to the extent possible during personal training sessions. To achieve the best outcomes for physical distancing tailor sessions to include only exercises that do not require physical contact between the trainer and the client/s

  • limit the number of clients per session. Where there are multiple clients ensure adequate spacing is maintained and provide each client with their own disinfected exercise equipment or ask them to supply their own 

  • where weather permits and it is safe to do so, use outdoor spaces where available

  • when spotting a client during heavy lifts to ensure their safety, it will not be possible for a personal trainer to maintain 2 metres of distance. In these circumstances you should seek to limit physical interactions between the personal trainer and client where you can. 


This could be achieved by:


  • limiting the frequency of sets that require a spotter, and

  • where possible and safe, standing to the side or behind the member so there is no face to face interaction


You should also consider whether you are required to comply with any physical distancing measures issued under public health directions in your province or state. See our information on public health directions – COVID-19 for links to enforceable government directions in your province or state. See also our information on In-home Services if you are a personal trainer or fitness instructor who provides training in a member’s home.


Child care facilities


See our information on physical distancing measures for Early Childhood Education.


Café and retail facilities


See our information on physical distancing measures for Hospitality and Retail.


Staff gatherings and training


  • postpone or cancel non-essential gatherings, meetings or training

  • if gatherings, meetings or training are essential use non face-to-face options to conduct – e.g. electronic communication such as tele and video conferencing

  • if a non face-to-face option is not possible, ensure face-to-face time is limited, that is make sure the gathering, meeting or training goes for no longer than it needs to
    hold the gathering, meeting or training it in spaces that enable workers to keep at least 2 metres apart and with 4 square metres of space per person – e.g. outdoors or in large conference rooms

  • limit the number of attendees in a gathering, meeting or training. This may require, for example, multiple training sessions to be held, and

  • ensure adequate ventilation if held indoors


Staff facilities


  • reduce the number of workers using staff common areas at a given time – e.g. by staggering meal breaks and start times

  • spread out furniture in common areas. If changing the physical layout of the workplace, you must ensure the layout allows for workers to enter, exit and move about the workplace both under normal working conditions and in an emergency without risks to their health and safety so far as is reasonably practicable

  • place signage about physical distancing around the workplace. Our website has links to a range of posters and resources to help remind workers and others of the risks of COVID-19 and the measures that are necessary to stop its spread. These posters can be placed around the workplace and in member-facing work environments (e.g. workplace entrances). Consideration needs to be given to how to communicate with workers and others for who English is not their first language

  • consider providing separate amenities for workers and others in the workplace – for example separate bathroom facilities for workers and visitors/members


Lifts


  • even if workers and members only spend a short amount of time in a lift each day, they are still at risk of being exposed to COVID-19 when using a lift

  • there is no requirement to provide 4 square metres of space per person in lifts, however you must still ensure, as far as you reasonably can, that people maintain physical distancing in lifts and lift waiting areas

  • safe use of lifts is best achieved through a combination of measures, determined in consultation with workers, other employers in the building and the building owner/manager. This includes reducing the number of workers and members who need to use the lift at the same time (e.g. stagger class start and finish times)

  • implementing physical distancing measures in the lift waiting area including queueing systems and advising of passenger limits for each lift

  • ensuring that when in the lift people maintain physical distance to the extent possible and practice good hygiene including cough and sneezing etiquette and washing hands or using alcohol-based hand sanitiser after exiting the lift

  • if workers and members are to use the stairs or emergency exits as alternatives to using lifts, you must consider if any new risks may arise (e.g. increased risk of slip trips and falls) and consider how other existing OHS measures will be impacted (e.g. emergency plans and procedures See also our information on emergency plans)


Deliveries, contractors and visitors attending the workplace


  • non-essential visits to the workplace should be cancelled or postponed (e,g, ‘pop up’ market stalls to promote other businesses such as clothing and fitness supplements)

  • minimise the number of workers attending to deliveries and contractors as much as possible

  • delivery drivers and other contractors who need to attend the workplace, to provide maintenance or repair services or perform other essential activities, should be given clear instructions of your requirements while they are on site

  • ensure handwashing facilities, or if not possible, alcohol-based hand sanitiser, is readily available for workers after physically handling deliveries

  • direct visiting delivery drivers and contractors to remain in vehicles and use contactless methods such as mobile phones to communicate with your workers wherever possible

  • direct visiting delivery drivers and contractors to use alcohol-based hand sanitiser before handling products being delivered

  • use, and ask delivery drivers and contractors to use, electronic paper work where possible, to minimise physical interaction. Where possible, set up alternatives to requiring signatures. For instance, see whether a confirmation email or a photo of the loaded or unloaded goods can be accepted as proof of delivery or collection (as applicable). If a pen or other utensil is required for signature you can ask that the pen or utensil is cleaned or disinfected before use. For pens, you may wish to use your own


On-going review and monitoring


  • If physical distancing measures introduce new health and safety risks (e.g. because they impact communication or mean that less people are doing a task), you need to manage those risks too

  • put processes in place to regularly monitor and review the implementation of physical distancing measures to ensure they are being followed and remain effective


Do workers need to practice physical distancing when on a lunch break or when travelling to and from work?


Yes. Workers must always comply with any provincial or state public health directions or orders. This includes maintaining a physical distance of 2 metres between people. In some provinces and states there are strict limitations on gatherings in public places. This means that in some circumstances, workers cannot eat lunch together in a park or travel together in a vehicle to and from work. You should refer to your provincial or state health authority for further information on specific restrictions in place under public health directions or orders in your province or state.


My workers need to travel in a vehicle together for work purposes. How do they practice physical distancing?


You must reduce the number of workers travelling together in a vehicle for work purposes. You should ensure that only two people are in a 5 seat vehicle – the driver and a worker behind the front passenger seat. Only one worker should be in a single cab vehicle. These measures may mean:


  • more of your vehicles are on the road at one time

  • more workers are driving and for longer periods than usual (if driving by themselves)


Because of this, you should review your procedures and policies for vehicle maintenance and driver safety to ensure they are effective and address all possible OHS risks that arise when workers drive for work purposes. If workers a