GYM HEART ATTACK: Daughter's plea for change
A DAUGHTER mourning the loss of her father, who died while working out at a 24-hour gym, is campaigning for an overhaul to the fitness industry.
Kevin Wyles, 66, suffered a fatal heart attack while using a rowing machine at Snap Fitness on March 4.
The QAL worker, who was a proud family man and loved riding his Triumph rocket motorbike, was well known at the Goondoon St gym where he trained regularly.
His only daughter, Asha Ford, 31, described her dad as someone who was always passionate about his health.
Mr Wyles arrived at Snap Fitness Gladstone in Goondoon St at 7.15am on the Sunday.
He was found an hour later by a young woman - but it was too late.
"She pressed the panic button but he'd been left for too long after having a heart attack," Mrs Ford said.
Since Mr Wyles's death, Mrs Ford has spent countless hours researching potential regulation changes for the fitness industry and 24-hour gyms.
"I don't know if Dad could have survived (with these changes)," she said.
"But it's possible. People do survive heart attacks.
"Now my mum Susie is left without a husband ... They were married for 36 years.
"He was my best friend too."
According to Workplace Health and Safety Queensland, there are no specific health and safety laws for operators in the fitness industry.
Like every business, the industry falls under The Work Health and Safety Act 2011.
Mrs Ford wants it to be mandatory for gyms to have defibrillators and to end 24-hour businesses.
She said five years ago, when she worked out at the gym regularly, it was open 5am-10pm with supervision.
Mrs Ford said another alternative fix would be for unsupervised gym attendees to wear an emergency safety lanyard.
These are used by some gyms and alert employees in an emergency.
Mrs Ford has also written to the Central Coroner requesting an inquest into her father's death.
"There was a photo of my dad that I put (at Snap) but I ripped it down because I don't want him there any more," she said.
Member for Gladstone Glenn Butcher has written to Minister for Industrial Relations Grace Grace about the potential for a law change.
In Queensland, Workplace Health and Safety has been notified of eight gym-related fatalities since 2012.
Mr Butcher said it was important any extra regulations did not impact the liability of the industry.
"It's a very popular industry ... In Gladstone people use the equipment outside of hours mostly because of their shifts," he said.
"There are things we can look at though to tighten up the rules around safety, including more warnings or only using certain equipment at certain times."
It's not the first time 24-hour gyms have faced health and safety scrutiny.
In June last year, a father in his 40s died after he suffered a heart attack at an Anytime Fitness gym at Leeton, New South Wales.
His death prompted calls for new regulations, with one personal trainer proclaiming safety lanyards were not enough.
Snap Fitness was contacted for comment.
Fitness industry has a duty of care: WHS
DESPITE not having specific regulations under the Workplace Health and Safety Act, the fitness industry must comply with a general duty of care.
A WHS Queensland spokesperson told The Observer the fitness industry had a duty of care, like all businesses, to ensure the health and safety of all workers and people at the workplace.
The spokesperson said this included providing a safe work environment, plant and equipment, and training.
It also includes providing training, instruction or supervision to protect people from risks to their health and safety.
Meanwhile the industry is also bound by the Office of Fair Trading's Fitness Industry Code of Practice.
The code rules that fitness centres must display a sign that clearly says: "If you believe there is a risk to your health by participating in a fitness service at this fitness centre, you must inform the supplier in writing about the risk. If you are a casual client, you must assess your fitness level, ability to exercise and risk to your health by participating in a fitness service at this fitness centre."
The code outlines appropriate standards of training must be maintained, promotes client confidence and that services are supplied ethically.