Many of the staff I work with are so talented and passionate about what they do that they are often asked to speak, present, or teach for a group that wants their expertise. While this is a sign that you are a sought after professional, it is essential to make sure to protect yourself in the process. Here is what I tell them: Protect Yourself!
Insurance: Whether your employer is covering you or you carry your own, you absolutely MUST carry liability insurance in the fitness and wellness industry. Although you hope to never rely on it, get it. Professional memberships often come with a reduced rate on insurance. Look into your member benefits.
Screening: Make sure that the individuals or group you are working with are screened properly. At the very least they should have filled out a PAR-Q and signed off on a consent form. In an ideal situation you have a full medical history and physician consent where necessary.
Documentation: Keep records for any and all services you provide. As you become more experienced and get busier, you can’t rely on your memory to serve you. Document everything!
Proper Instruction and Supervision: This is key. Your training and education should be up-to-date and follow industry standards and guidelines. Only provide those services that fall within the scope of your training. That includes a safe ratio of participants per instructor.
Emergency Response: Make sure to have a plan in place and know how to implement it. This can get complicated if you travel or work at multiple sites. Do your homework and be ready if the time comes.
The most common reasons for litigation include lack of screening, minimal forms and documentation, improper training of staff, and a poor response plan. If you are prepared and thorough in your work, you can focus on the task at hand!