Reducing risk in the fitness industry

Professor Russ Hoye recently interviewed Professor Patrick Keyzer, of the La Trobe Law School, about the new risk management manual for the fitness industry.

Listen to the interview to learn more about the manual and the research underpinning it.


Fitness is a strong growth industry.

Australian Bureau of Statistics data indicate that attending fitness centres is Australia's second most popular physical activity, second only to walking.

As with all undertakings, the industry isn't without its risks. Until now, these have not been formally studied in Australia.

Thanks to funding from the Australian Research Council, La Trobe University has worked with Fitness Australia and Sports Medicine Australia to review the industry's risks, so that the industry can maintain a safe environment for clients and reduce its legal liability.

As part of the Australian Fitness Industry Risk Management (AFIRM) Project, the team:

  • reviewed existing legislation
  • reviewed risks
  • conducted focus group research and in-depth interviews
  • conducted a national survey of 1,200 fitness professionals, the largest survey ever undertaken of Australia's fitness industry
  • completed observational audits of fitness facilities.

The end result is a risk management manual for the booming industry.

'A substantial part of the manual brings together all the legal research that we've done over the last few years,' said Professor Keyzer.

'There's new material in there that's never been written and published about how contracts, consumer law, civil liability, building regulations, planning regulations, workplace health and safety and also discrimination law operate in the concept of the fitness industry.'

 The manual also details the risks the fitness industry faces and includes training resources.

'We anticipate fitness business owners and fitness professionals will use it in developing risk management strategies.'

The manual was recently launched at Federation Square.

Listen to the 15 minute podcast.

Learn more about the manual.

Review the findings of the focus group and national survey.

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