One of our loss control experts received a question that many YMCAs and larger fitness facilities face. Employees at this YMCA noticed some of their members using the facility to train other members. This isn't an unusual occurrence. Someone who wants to make money with their skills offers to provide training for others, using the YMCA or fitness center as a meeting place. They could be offering swim lessons, sports training, personal training, or other services.
Our rep even told a story about someone who was trying to run a basketball-training program using the Y. This person was charging a lot of money for their services and was very upset the Y didn't allow them to continue to use their facility free of charge.
So why is this an issue? Liability! Anything that goes wrong falls on the facility that has no control over the business practices of these “trainers.” A trainee who gets hurt can blame the facility since the accident occurred on their premises. Since the “trainers” aren’t employees, the facility has no way of knowing if they're properly certified.
The easiest solution in this situation is for the facility to simply not allow this type of training. If members need swim lessons or personal training, they should get it from the facility's own employees.
Another option is for these trainers to get their own insurance and provide the facility with a certificate confirming they have coverage. This might remove some liability, but not all of it. As the property owner, the facility would still be liable for some accidents, while another person’s business is reaping all the benefits of using the building and equipment.
The final option is for the facility to hire the individuals who want to conduct their programs there. The facility can then require them to follow important policies relating to child abuse and training certification. As employees, the trainers are also covered by the facility's insurance. This gives the facility greater control, thus reducing the risk.