Working safely in grassroots sport and gym and leisure facilities
This guidance has been produced to help Employers understand their responsibilities under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and make it easier to comply with this and associated legislation.
The facilities that will be able to reopen from July 25, 2020 include the following:
- Indoor and outdoor sports courts
- Indoor and outdoor gyms
- Indoor and outdoor swimming and diving pools, including water parks
- Other indoor and outdoor sporting activities (including but not limited to sports fields, rugby, football, hockey, cricket and other pitches, skate parks, climbing facilities, trampoline parks, boxing halls, ice skating rinks, horse stables and arenas, bowling lawns, golf courses, and snowsport facilities, watersports and sporting facilities, track and field facilities)
- Hot tubs, hydrotherapy pools, whirlpools, and spa pools
There are UK national governing bodies for many sporting activities who have produced guidance for each relevant sport. An example of this is Swim England's guidance.
The Government has published, "Guidance for people who work in grassroots sport and gym/leisure facilities" for those businesses referred to above.
Carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment
All businesses must carry out risk assessments for each of their premises and use the information gathered to prevent health and safety risks.
Some points to consider;
- A risk assessment should help identify sensible measures to control risks in the workplace.
- Businesses with fewer than five employees don't need to write down their risk assessment.
- Staff must be consulted on health and safety matters, this should be done by asking them about perceived risk.
- The results of the risk assessment must be shared with the workforce and if possible, published on the businesses' website.
- A risk assessment guide can be found on the HSE's website
1.In every workplace, increasing the frequency of hand washing and surface cleaning.
2. Businesses, organisations and workplaces should make every reasonable effort to enable working from home as a first option. Where working from home is not possible, workplaces should make every reasonable effort to comply with the social distancing guidelines set out by the government.
3. Where the social distancing guidelines cannot be followed in full, in relation to a particular activity, businesses and/or organisations should consider whether that activity needs to continue for the business and/or organisation to operate, and if so, take all the mitigating actions possible to reduce the risk of transmission between their staff.
4. Further mitigating actions include:
- increasing the frequency of hand washing and surface cleaning
- keeping the activity time involved as short as possible
- using screens or barriers to separate people from each other
- using back-to-back or side-to-side working (rather than face-to-face) whenever possible
- reducing the number of people each person has contact with by using 'fixed teams or partnering' (so each person works with only a few others)
5. Finally, if people must work face-to-face for a sustained period with more than a small group of fixed partners, then you will need to assess whether the activity can safely go ahead. No one is obliged to work in an unsafe work environment.
Staggering arrival and departure times at work to reduce crowding into and out of the workplace.
Providing additional parking or facilities such as bike-racks to help people walk, run, or cycle to the sports or gym/leisure facility where possible.
Reducing congestion, for example, by having more entry points to the workplace in larger gym/leisure facilities.
Using markings and introducing one-way flow at entry and exit points.
Providing hand washing facilities (or hand sanitiser where not possible) at entry and exit points.
Customers encouraged to arrive at the venue in sports kit and where possible to travel home to change/shower.
Use of changing rooms and showering facilities should in general be avoided where possible, although these must be available for participants with disabilities or special needs and are likely to be needed after swimming.
Obtaining information from customers for Track and Trace
You should assist this service by keeping a temporary record of your customers and visitors for 21 days, in a way that is manageable for your business, and assist NHS Test and Trace with requests for that data if needed.
Collect sufficient data on each attendee (name, home phone number, mobile number, date and times of entry and exit) so that each person could be contacted if there is a case of COVID-19 connected to your facility.
This could help contain clusters or outbreaks. These facilities are expected to have systems for recording their customers and visitors. If you do not already do this, you should do so to help fight the virus.
Contact while using facilities
Pieces of gym equipment should be an appropriate distance apart to comply with social distancing guidelines and with a suitable margin for adequate circulation or one-way routes. This can be achieved by moving equipment, using screens to separate equipment or taking equipment out of use. Clearly visible tape should be put around pieces of gym equipment to denote social distance.
Particular care should be taken to manage congestion and ensure social distancing such as limiting use to alternate lockers, or ideally limiting use to those with special needs and/or removing use of showers. Encourage attendees to arrive at the facility in sports kit and where possible to travel home to change/shower. Use of changing rooms and showering facilities should in general be avoided where possible, although these must be available for participants with disabilities or special needs and are likely to be needed after swimming.
Dance and exercise studios
Where possible, temporary floor marking defining required spacing per individual should be provided.
- Swimming pools should restrict numbers to allow 3sqm per bather
- Saunas and steam rooms remain closed for the time being as the risk of transmission is unclear
- If flumes are available, they must be used in a socially distanced manner
Capacity should be managed to take account of any special needs of the clients. If social distancing cannot be maintained for due to immediate safety concerns, close proximity contact should be kept to a minimum by those not part of the same household or social support bubble.
Air extraction and ventilation measures
- The maximum occupancy of each gym should be limited by providing a minimum of 100sqft per person. For this figure, the area is the net useable gym space available to members to use, including changing rooms, toilet and wash facilities. Reducing capacity in this way whilst sustaining ventilation flows, will increase the typical current 10l/s/p flow rate of ventilation to at least 20l/s/p, as fewer people are being served by the ventilation system.
- Ventilation systems should provide 100 per cent fresh air and not recirculate air from one space to another.
- Maintain good ventilation in the sport or gym/leisure facility. For example, opening windows and doors frequently, where possible
- Frequently clean work areas and equipment including stationary gym equipment between use, using your usual cleaning products
- Frequently clean objects and surfaces that are touched regularly, including stationary gym equipment, free weights, mats, balls, etc
- Provide spray and cloths and instructions for users to wipe down each machine
- Maintain current rigorous cleaning procedures, reviewing and adapting where necessary including in increased high-risk spaces including main thoroughfares, touch points and walls and floors in circulation routes (corridors, lifts, foyers, landings, stairs, lobbies)
- Clear workspaces and remove waste and belongings from the work area at the end of a shift
- If equipment cannot be cleaned after each use, it should not be used
- If you are cleaning after a known or suspected case of COVID-19 then you refer to the specific guidance.
In addition to the guidance on changing rooms above:
- Take steps to ensure that all water systems, for example showers and sinks, are safe to use after a prolonged facility shutdown to minimise the risk of legionella and other diseases associated with water
- Where shower and changing facilities are required, set clear use and cleaning guidance for showers, lockers and changing rooms to ensure they are kept clean and clear of personal items and that social distancing is achieved as much as possible. Consider closing communal showers if possible
- Introduce enhanced cleaning of all facilities regularly during the day and at the end of the day
- Consider changes in policies to ensure limited time is taken in changing areas, especially during the changeover of group activity to maintain social distancing
Spectators and children
Generally, non-participating children and spectators should be discouraged wherever possible:
- If allowing spectators would present challenges to maintaining capacity levels, consider prohibiting spectators until further notice. Chaperones to children may wait outside premises/activity area in a socially distant manner or in their car unless the child has special needs
- Control spectator numbers within controlled numbers through pre-booking, ticketing and other controls at access points
- Ensure spectators follow Government guidance for social gatherings and maintain social distancing preferably with marked viewing spaces
- Remind customers who are accompanied by children that they are responsible for supervising them at all times and should follow social distancing guidelines
- In cases where a child is participating in activities, permit only one parent/carer per child to supervise their child while following social distancing
Visiting instructors, coaches, teachers, and management
If you have visiting instructors etc. running classes or personal coaching sessions, keep these in mind:
- Consider limiting the number of classes that rotating instructors teach in order to minimise exposure
- Determine the number of facilities they are comfortable with instructors rotating amongst in order to minimise exposure. Establish a system for monitoring this
- Given the high risk of transmission from visiting instructors, where possible, establish a private testing programme for rotating/visiting instructors.
Help and support for businesses