Many of our readers heard about Dave Goldberg's death. Goldberg, who headed the company SurveyMonkey and was married to Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg, died while working out on a treadmill in the gym of a Mexican resort.
Although there are reports that Goldberg's death may have been related to a heart ailment rather than a treadmill malfunction, the story gave pause to many of us who use hotel and resort gyms while vacationing or traveling on business. Just how safe is the equipment there and how clean are the facilities? If we do have an accident, will we get the aid we need? Experts say that while the likelihood of dying from an injury or disease picked up at a hotel gym is rare, there are precautions we can and should take.
One reason that hotel gyms may be less safe than your neighborhood gym is the lack of staff, or at least qualified staff, to provide assistance like CPR if someone has an accident or health-related event. While larger resort facilities usually are staffed, many smaller hotel gyms aren't.
Another potential danger is that people are more likely to be using unfamiliar equipment at hotel gyms. Couple that with having no one around to demonstrate or note if something's not working as it should be, and you have a recipe for injury.
Another potential risk is picking up an infection or worse. Gym equipment and showers can be breeding grounds for all sorts of contagions. That's why it's important to keep a clean towel between you and any surface, including seats and backrests of equipment, floor mats and shower benches. Don't be afraid to use your own disinfectant wipes if the gym doesn't have any. Use flip-flops in the shower area. Finally, wash your hands thoroughly after your workout.
You can also take steps to help ensure your safety on gym equipment. Look at each machine before you use it to note if there are damaged pulleys, frayed cables, rust or any other issues that indicate the equipment is not well-maintained.
People who are injured or contract an illness in a hotel gym or surviving family members may have legal options. They may be able to hold the hotel or resort accountable and retrieve compensation to help cover damages including medical costs. It's worth getting some experienced legal guidance to find out about those options.
Source: New York Times, "Safety Tips for Using Hotel Gym Equipment," Greg Daugherty, July 01, 2015