Maintenance & safety for gym equipment

Written by g.d. palmer
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Maintenance & safety for gym equipment
Clean and disinfect all exercise equipment regularly. (Creative Crop/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Exercise equipment only works well with proper maintenance. Weight machines, treadmills, ski machines, and other gym equipment can become less effective and even unsafe if they don't get the care and attention they need. Taking the time to learn how to care for equipment at a home or membership gym can help people get the most out of their workouts and avoid accidents.


In gyms where the equipment is used by many people, it can be a vector for bacteria, viruses and other microorganisms. The Water Quality and Health Council recommends wiping down or spraying exercise equipment with chlorine bleach solution to reduce the spread of flu virus. Spraying down equipment before using it ensures no germs from the previous user remain, while spraying down equipment after use is good etiquette -- always leave a clean piece of equipment for the next user.


The area around gym equipment can also pose a health and safety risk. According to the Victorian Weightlifting Association, flooring should be clean and free of holes or protrusions like nails, splinters, and screws. Check mats to ensure that they are free of tears. When using exercise equipment that's attached to the floor or wall, make sure the fasteners are secure.


Many pieces of exercise equipment see hard use daily. Some parts, such as treadmill belts, may wear out and pose a safety hazard. L&T Health and Fitness recommends inspecting exercise equipment on a weekly basis to ensure proper function and to avoid safety problems. Tighten fasteners and replace worn parts upon discovery.


Moving parts like shafts and chains require regular treatment with lubricant to work properly. Poorly lubricated equipment may develop drag or simply freeze up. L&T Health and Fitness recommends checking moving parts on a regular schedule to prevent problems later on. Remove any visible excess grease after lubricating to help keep the equipment and surrounding area clean.


Broken and unsafe equipment that can't be restored to proper condition with simple repairs should be removed from use immediately. In clubs and gyms, this means taking the equipment off the exercise floor. According to L&T Health and Fitness, when it's not possible to remove equipment, post an “out of order” sign, including the date of expected repair.

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