Solution: Fitness centres

Ing. Robert Terp

TÜV AUSTRIA-Platz 1 2345 Brunn am Gebirge Österreich

+43 5 0454 6240

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Fitness centres: Main problems of fitness equipment

  • Incorrect installation with regard to stability and to other equipment with mutual hazards
  • Use of inadequate spare parts
  • “Hidden” damage due to material fatigue

Fitness centres: Liability in the event of accidents in fitness centres - Background information

Fitness centres mainly operate equipment that is not a medical device according to the Medical Devices Act (Medizinproduktegesetz-MPG). Here, special requirements are placed on testing. Nevertheless, in the event of an accident in court, the following will apply.

The liability of the operator can be a triple one, namely

  1. a civil liability
  2. a criminal liability
  3. an administrative liability

Breach of the duty to ensure road safety

The most common basis for liability under civil law for any claims for damages arising from accidents is the violation of the so-called duty of care. The assumption of responsibility for a debt owed to others is called liability. The legal basis is either contractual liability or the general duty of care.

Protection and warning of the road user

Due to this duty to ensure traffic safety, anyone who opens a traffic must protect or at least warn the road users within the bounds of what is reasonable. Anyone who runs a fitness centre opens a traffic in the aforementioned sense and is therefore responsible for safety.

The fitness equipment must comply with current standards and any legal requirements and must also be maintained accordingly so that it is functional and not dangerous.

The fitness equipment constitutes works performed by humans within the meaning of § 1319 ABGB.

§ Section 1319 of the Austrian Civil Code (ABGB) is a special, regulated element of the generally recognised duty of care. It reads:

“If anyone is injured or any other damage is caused by the collapse or detachment of parts of a building or other work listed on land, the owner of the building or work is liable to pay compensation if the event is the result of a defective condition of the work and he does not prove that he exercised all due care to avert the danger.”

Besides that

  • The authorities repeatedly demand that fitness equipment be subjected to periodic inspections. Look in your trade law folder.
  • The manufacturer of the fitness equipment sets requirements with regard to maintenance and testing that must be complied with for safe operation.

We would be very happy to carry out the inspection of your fitness equipment for you and are at your disposal for any queries. TÜV AUSTRIA carries out these inspections throughout Austria and at amazingly favourable conditions.

TÜV AUSTRIA draws on the wealth of experience of an accredited test monitoring body that has been active for many years. Our inspection and the resulting written test report not only help users but also those responsible for the fitness centre to achieve a significantly higher level of safety.


Fitness centres: Safety factors of fitness equipment

  • the sufficient stability
  • the strength of components
  • the sufficient avoidance of crushing and shearing points
  • the appropriate design of wear parts
  • the correct supervision and application of the exercises

Exercise instructions and information on proper use on the equipment is strongly recommended, warning labels must be attached to the equipment.

  • Inspection before commissioning and at the required intervals as well as ongoing maintenance

Fitness centres: Studio liable for damages & compensation for pain and suffering for fitness athletes

Anyone who works out in a fitness centre can rely on the fact that the sports equipment is safe. The operator must check and maintain the equipment regularly.

The operators of fitness studios must check the sports equipment at regular intervals.

Compensation for pain and suffering for fitness athletes

For example, a court awarded compensation for pain and suffering to a fitness athlete who had been seriously injured by a defective piece of equipment in a gym.

The man had been hit in the head by a metal bar when a steel cable broke on the sports equipment.

With sufficient inspection, it would have been obvious that the rope was defective, the judges ruled.

The operator of the studio was obliged to check the equipment professionally at short intervals, according to the ruling.

If he neglects the necessary controls, he is liable for damages. The judgement is final.

We would be very pleased to carry out the inspection of your fitness equipment for you and are at your disposal for any queries.

Fitness centres: Process for the quality award

Quality labelling of companies (e.g. also of fitness studios) is indispensable in various areas today. For selection as a business partner, but also as a decision criterion for customers, basic quality standards (e.g. ISO 9000) are required.

The evaluation and quality award is carried out on an objective and independent basis according to recognised criteria by a non-partisan body. In the above-mentioned project, TÜV AUSTRIA carries out the necessary tests.

The quality criteria created especially for fitness centres are also accepted and proven in other countries (Germany, Switzerland and others).

The benefit of the quality award therefore lies in the distinction of the fitness studio as a fully-fledged contractual partner, but also as a visible sign for the customer that he or she is offered the level of safety, health and infrastructure expected today. Below you will find a short description of the process for the quality award.

Initial certification: takes place in 2 steps:

1. preliminary examination = questionnaire analysis

After ordering or requesting, TÜV AUSTRIA will send you questionnaires. These questionnaires contain the quality criteria for the quality award and should be completed and returned to TÜV AUSTRIA.

Die Auswertung und Beurteilung erfolgt sofort nach Begleichung der Vorprüfgebühr (s. Gebührenliste). Dann erhalten Sie das Ergebnis – ggf. mit Korrekturmaßnahmen – für die Zulassung zur Hauptprüfung.

2. main audit

The main audit is carried out by a walk-through/inspection of the centre on the basis of the preliminary audit.

A confirmation of registration signed by you with payment of the main examination fee (see list of fees) counts as definitive registration. Appointments and inspections are made by direct arrangement with our examiners.

After positive completion – with corrective measures if necessary – they receive the quality award as a recognised quality centre to attach to the entrance area of their centre.


After the 2-stage initial award procedure, an annually recurring reaward procedure is carried out, which is initiated by prepayment of the size-dependent annual fee. More detailed specifications will be agreed with our auditors in the course of the main audit.

"Our inspection and test findings help users, fitness centre managers to achieve a much higher level of safety."

Fitness studios with TÜV AUSTRIA quality certification are recognised partners.

TÜV AUSTRIA draws on the wealth of experience of an accredited inspection body that has been active for many years. Our inspection and the resulting written test report not only help the users but also those responsible for the fitness centre to achieve a significantly higher level of safety.

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