XSport Fitness Cited by OSHA for Safety Violations

XSport Fitness officials will meet with the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) on Thursday to discuss citations for safety violations that could result in $60,000 worth of fines.

OSHA notified Capital Fitness Inc., Big Rock, IL, which owns XSport Fitness, that the company had four repeat safety violations. OSHA, which inspected the company's Libertyville, IL, club in November, said the company failed to provide personal protective equipment to employees working with hazardous chemicals.

Dennis Pierro, vice president at XSport Fitness, tells Club Industry that the formal charges came as a surprise to the company. He says he is hoping to hear more information about the violations at the meeting.

"We choose to disagree right now until we sit down and talk with them" Pierro says, adding XSport has hired a third-party OSHA consultant. "We're not saying that OSHA is incorrect. We just don't understand their position and how we can do something different than what we've been doing."

OSHA said XSport Fitness failed to provide eye, face and hand protection for workers using liquid and other hazardous chemicals, did not develop and implement a written hazard communication program, did not provide material safety data sheets for hazardous chemicals in use and did not train workers and provide them with information regarding hazardous chemicals in their work area. Similar violations were cited in May 2012 at XSport's Fullerton Avenue facility in Chicago, OSHA said.

"Xsport Fitness has a responsibility to know the hazards that exist in their workplace and to provide employees with appropriate personal protective equipment," Diane Turek, OSHA's area director at the Chicago North office in Des Plaines, IL, said in a statement. "Employers who are cited for repeat violations demonstrate a lack of commitment to employee safety and health."

XSport had 15 days to respond to the violations, which Pierro says the company received last week. Pierro said neither employees nor members have been harmed by chemicals at the 38,000-square-foot club in Libertyville.

"We've never had a safety issue in regards to anybody getting hurt," Pierro says. "We have trained all of the employees at the location and several others and all of our managers to meet what we think they are requiring. We will find out next Thursday what it is they expect us to do."

Capital Fitness Inc. was ranked No. 7 on Club Industry's Top 100 Clubs list last year with $151 million in 2011 reported revenue. The company said it had hoped to open three new clubs last year, bringing its total to 33. Most of the clubs are in the Chicago area, with a handful in the Washington, DC, and New York areas.

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