Anytime Fitness embraces cloud-based WHS platform

Australian franchise companies without a set solution for work health and safety (WHS) in place are faced with the potential of three major issues were an incident, a complaint or even a significant 'near miss' to occur:

1.    The franchisor and franchisee open themselves up to serious litigation and fines.

2.    Potential short-term, long-term or indefinite loss of valuable employees who have the skills, training, and enthusiasm to keep the business running smoothly.

3.    Loss of good brand reputation if the incident is reported to a state WorkSafe regulator, who then publicises the shortcoming in the media.

Anytime Fitness is a rapidly growing, worldwide franchise group consisting of over 4000 clubs - 500 of them in Australia. It operates on a 24/7 business model and provides its members with around-the-clock access.

In 2014, Anytime Australia's in-house counsel identified the PCBU LEGAL responsibility that franchisors and franchisees must maintain to provide appropriate work health and safety (WHS) systems.

Anytime's in-house counsel were aware of these risks, but at the same time wanted a solution that was easy to implement and manage. Anytime reached out to Safety Navigator to discuss how a cloud-based health and safety system may cover their WHS responsibilities.

Anytime liked the simplicity and ease of use, power of reporting, and workflow of Safety Navigator. However, they also wanted to ensure the platform suited the work environment of a busy fitness club.

So they did the following:

·       Engaged with key franchisees to get input on how Safety Navigator would work in the fitness club environment. This resulted in a list of requirements, which were then converted into system customisations made to suit Anytime's processes.

·       Inserted a 'Safety Levy' into Franchise Agreements to cover the cost of the system and support for all franchisees. Economies of scale meant that levy was less than a cup of coffee per day, per club .

·       Reviewed system customisations.

·       Entrusted the Safety Navigator team to roll the system out to all franchisees and provide ongoing support.

Anytime Safety  is a customised, cloud-based health and safety system that Anytime clubs use to manage their WHS responsibilities quickly and efficiently - about 20 minutes of data input per month for a franchisee.

The system includes a built-in 'risk rating' for clubs and support office to measure safety performance. It also includes scheduled email reminders for franchisees to take actions (inspections, AED checks, policy reviews), easy dashboard reporting for the franchisors and unlimited support provided by Safety Navigator.

However, Anytime Fitness realised that health and safety is not just a 'switch' to be turned on and left to run.

The support office has ensured constant buy-in from franchisees for Anytime Safety by setting KPIs based on risk ratings, as well as consistently inviting franchisees to voice feedback on changes and updates required to further improve the service.

Through collaboration with Anytime's business performance coaching and compliance teams, there has been an instrumental shift in the 'ownership of safety' message throughout the organisation.

Anytime is ensuring that safety is kept a top priority by having both operational and compliance teams liaise with Safety Navigator's support teams to produce and distribute instructional videos. They also host round-table discussions with franchisees to push high performance through callouts, email campaigns, and more.

'We have found Safety Navigator's cloud-based system an extremely valuable tool in maintaining a safe environment for our members,' said Andrew Gow, Performance Coach Team Leader at Anytime Fitness Australia. 'By maintaining strong communication with franchisees, the Anytime support office and Safety Navigator can align to achieve higher standards in WHS than ever before.'