The International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) recently announced their participation in an initiative to create a voluntary certification process for fitness facilities. The goal is to strengthen the health and fitness industry and raise its standing as the quality provider of safe and healthy exercise.
NSF International, a world leader in standards development for public health and safety, spearheads the initiative, which was announced in the public policy-focused article In Brief in the February 2008 issue of Club Business International magazine. NSF has invited IHRSA to participate on the Joint Committee responsible for developing and approving the certification standards. IHRSA accepted the invitation after being assured that every IHRSA member would have the opportunity to participate in the process and make his/her voice heard.
IHRSA intends to create an appropriate, voluntary certification process for clubs that wish to be recognized as quality providers of safe and healthy exercise. Proposed standards, available for public comment, are expected in late spring or early summer.
IHRSA's participation in the process is guided by 5 core principles:
Certification standards should be reflective of current responsible industry practice.
Certification should grow the health club industry by increasing consumer confidence in the safety of accredited facilities.
Certification should attract positive attention from the medical community, including an increase in the number of patient referrals to health clubs.
Certification should attract positive attention from employers, insurance companies, and other potential third-party payers.
Certification standards must be practical.
IHRSA is working together with the Joint Committee to develop these principles and see that they are put into practice, and encourages its members to become involved, show their support, and provide thoughts on the topics expected to be addressed by the certification standards.
Pre-activity screening and orientation
Emergency and risk management procedures, and
Every IHRSA member will also have the opportunity to submit comments directly to the Joint Committee once the proposed certification standards are released to the public.
For more information on the draft form of the standards, or to share your comments, please visit ihrsa.org/facilitycertification or contact the IHRSA Government Relations Department at firstname.lastname@example.org or, 617-951-0056 (fax).