person working out on eliptical machine

Recreation centres offer a wide range of activities. These may include craft, vocational or educational training classes and services; counselling and professional services; sports facilities such as a gym, swimming pool, tennis or racquetball courts, or weightlifting rooms; or lodging or boarding facilities. The centre may serve concessions or provide locker rooms for members or guests.

It is important that recreation centres understand some of the risks and exposures that can impact them. Here are a few to watch out for:


Property Exposure

Property exposure from fire comes from multiple sources of ignition. Electrical wiring must be well maintained and circuit breakers and/or fuses set in such a way that they cannot be overridden. If there are courts, regular refinishing is required to maintain a good playing surface. The refinishing process creates dust and uses flammable liquids to strip, stain, seal, and finish the floor’s surface. Flammable liquids, paints and solvents should be properly stored. If there is cooking, the kitchen must be set up with appropriate controls and all cooking done in the oven or under hoods. Fire extinguishers must be conveniently placed. Housekeeping must be excellent with regular trash pickup. Vandalism and theft are potentials, particularly if the building is not occupied on a regular basis.


Crime Exposure

This comes from employee dishonesty and theft of money and securities. Cash may be collected for activities. All monies should be double counted and balanced with cashier balance sheets. All cashiers must be held accountable for shortages. Money should be stripped regularly from cashiers’ drawers in order to keep a minimum on the field. Regular deposits must be made and no money should be kept on premises overnight.


Inland Marine Exposures 

These include accounts receivable, audio-visual equipment, computers, and valuable papers and records. Values can be high due to the wide variety of equipment for sound, lighting, computers, sports/athletics, or other office and electronics equipment. These items should be secured after hours to prevent theft. If any owned equipment is used or taken off premises, the exposure to loss increases as these may be stolen or damaged during transit. If the centre assumes responsibility for the equipment or other property of members or guests while on the premises, bailees customers coverage should also be considered.


Occupiers’ Liability Exposure 

This is high due to the large numbers of visitors on premises and the types of activities generally conducted. Public and life safety code compliance is very important. Good housekeeping is critical to preventing trips, slips, and falls. Adequate lighting, marked exits and egress are mandatory. Steps must have rails, be well-lit, marked, and in good maintenance and repair. Parking areas should be maintained free of snow and ice. Gym and athletic equipment must be properly maintained and documented. Swimming pools should be fenced, with a self-closing gate and depths clearly marked. Pool rules should be prominently displayed. Lifesaving equipment should be accessible at all times. 

Some centres operate almost exclusively through volunteer help with few employees. These volunteers should be subject to the same types of background checks as employees and receive adequate training and supervision.


Automobile Exposure 

This is generally limited to hired Non-owned for employees or volunteers running errands. If transportation is provided for employees, officials, guests, and visitors, the exposure increases. If there are owned vehicles, they must be maintained on a regular basis with all service documented. MVRs must be ordered regularly on all drivers.



Find Out More:

Keeping the above tips in mind can go a long way in preventing claims and losses.

Download a copy of our “Risk Summary – Recreation Centres” guide for an in-depth guide about how to better protect your organization: