The Institute of Personal Trainers ensure members accept the responsibility and guidance of this document as it is intended to cover not only the individual trainer, but to represent the Institute of Personal Trainers as a whole organisation.
The Institute of Personal Trainers has a professional duty to maintain it's integrity and support it's Code Of Ethical Conduct, therefore if a complaint is received about a health professional, the Institute of Personal Trainers reserves the right to either terminate the trainers membership should the complaint be upheld or suspend membership until the dispute has been resolved to a mutually satisfactory conclusion between the parties involved.
1.1 Welcome to this code of conduct for personal trainers, clients and members of the public.
1.2 As a personal trainer, you play a vital role in:
Helping the health and fitness industry deliver its services
Protecting clients and the public from harm
Valuing all aspects of equality and diversity
What you do has a big impact on the quality of healthcare for people who use your service.
1.3 This code of conduct is necessary because the work you do as a member of the health and fitness industry is very important. The code is a list of statements that set the standard for how you should work on a day-to-day basis.
1.4. The code is here to help you, the clients and the public you work with. It is based on the basic principle of protecting the public and mirrors what is required of all ‘regulated’ healthcare professionals you may work alongside.
1.5. You can use the code to check that you are 'working to standard'. Your client can use it to make sure that the service is meeting the standards and that both public and client safety is assured.
Clients can also use it to help them understand what kind of service they can expect from you and your colleagues.
1.6. The statements are based on existing good practice. You'll probably find you are already working to standard in most, if not all of them. If not, the code will show you how you can change the way you work to make sure you are working to standard.
1.7. The statements are designed for all personal trainers, wherever you work and whatever job you do. It is a multi-national code of conduct that will help to make sure that clients all over the world can get the same high quality, safe and effective service from personal trainers.
1.8. Your client also has a code of practice to guide how they treat you as a worker and how they can support you to achieve the required standard reflected in this code.
2. Where Has the Code Come From?
2.1. The first version of the code was developed by a working group brought together by the Institute of Personal Trainers.
The group worked very closely with similar groups in other sectors of the health care sector to make sure that the statements in the code are the right ones. The group took special care to make sure that the code is in keeping with 'like' codes in other relevant sectors, such as the NHS and social services, where this code is derived.
3. Working "to Standard"
3.1 As a personal trainer, you are expected to work to a certain standard. You need to be able to do your job properly, behave properly, and do the right thing at all times. This is essential to protect yourself, clients, and members of the public and others from harm. Clients and their relatives, your employer and your colleagues all expect this, and you should expect this of yourself.
3.2 But what does this mean on a day-to-day basis? It means that in your work, you should always be of ‘good character’. This means that you should always display the characteristics outlined in paragraphs 3.2.1 to 3.2.13 below.
3.2.1. Accountability - making sure that you can always 'answer' for your actions or omissions.
Make sure you are happy with the things you do (actions) and the things you don’t do (omissions) in your daily work and that you can justify them to clients, members of the public, your superiors, your colleagues and others.
You must carry out only the tasks agreed in your job description or specification so that you or your employer knows what you are likely to be doing and, based on this, agrees to accept liability (known as ‘vicarious liability’) for your actions.
How will I know if I'm 'working to standard’ on accountability? When you are working to standard on accountability, you may be asked to explain anything that you do or do not do with, or for, the client or member of the public for whom you provide a service. So, you need good reasons for the way you have acted. Your clients will draw on the knowledge and skills you have used when they judge your actions. Make sure that you record your actions in line with your employer’s or company procedures. By taking part in ongoing monitoring of your performance, you are showing you are aware of your accountability.
3.2.2 Awareness - being honest with yourself and others about what you can do. Know yourself, what you can do and what you can’t do. The safety of your clients and members of the public is your first priority.
Always ask colleagues for help if you have any worries or concerns about your abilities.
How will I know if I'm 'working to standard' on awareness? When you're working to standard on awareness, you'll know yourself well enough to know what you can do. You'll show you understand that people who have had special training can only carry out some procedures and that, in certain circumstances, you need permission from qualified or supervisory staff before you do certain things with or for clients or members of the public.
If you feel you're being asked to do something you haven't been trained to do, and that you don’t have the skills to do it, you will speak up.
3.2.3. Integrity - always do what is right to protect the client or member of the public for whom you provide a service. Always do your best to make sure nothing you or anyone else does, or does not do, will harm the person's mental or physical health or well-being or delay their performance or recovery.
How will I know if I'm 'working to standard' on integrity? When you're working to standard on integrity, you will be protecting clients and the public in every way you can, taking into account all aspects of equality and diversity. You should be prepared to report issues that cause you to worry.
3.2.4. Advocacy - doing your best for clients, members of the public and their relatives. This means being responsible for promoting and protecting the interests of people in receipt of services, many of whom may not be able to protect their own interests. This could involve speaking up for people to make sure that what is best for each individual is always taken into account.
How will I know if I'm 'working to standard' on advocacy? When you're working to standard on advocacy, you'll be putting clients' and members of the public’s interests first at all times and making sure that you are meeting their wants and needs. All people are individuals with different likes and dislikes and you must acknowledge their equality and diversity to make sure that you treat them equally and fairly.
3.2.5. Sensitivity - respecting the client / member of the public. Every patient or member of the public is an individual with real feelings and emotions. When working with clients or members of the public, think about how they may be feeling and what the most appropriate response to their situation is.
How will I know if I'm 'working to standard' on sensitivity? When you're working to standard on sensitivity, you'll be treating clients, members of the public and their relatives politely while being aware of the situation they are in and their reactions to it. For example, they may be feeling confused, angry or frustrated. It is important that you are sensitive to this and do not take their reactions personally.
3.2.6. Objectivity - treating all clients and members of the public fairly and without bias. Access to high quality care should be fair and consistent. There should be no discrimination on the grounds of race, disability, sex, age, sexual orientation or religion or belief. There is a legal duty on public bodies and their employees to promote race, disability and gender equality, and a wider commitment to promoting equality on grounds of sexual orientation, age and religion or belief will help public bodies avoid unlawful discrimination in these areas too.
Personal feelings about clients or members of the public must not interfere with the standard of your work. You must provide all clients with a high quality service, which reflects their individual needs. This means that you owe clients a ‘duty of care’ and they can expect a ‘reasonable’ standard of care from you. It is expected that you would treat all members of the public like this.
It is also important to maintain clear boundaries when providing services for clients or members of the public. This means that you should always have a ‘professional’ relationship with your clients. If you have any strong feelings about a patient’s religious, social or cultural beliefs, you should tell a superior as soon as possible so they can take appropriate action.
How will I know if I'm 'working to standard' on objectivity? When you're working to standard on objectivity, you'll be working to the same high standard with every person you work with. It should not matter to you what the person is like as an individual, what race or religion they are or how they live their life. You will see all people in receipt of service as worthy of your respect and best efforts.
3.2.7. Consideration and respect - making sure people are always treated with dignity. Consider and respect people’s privacy to make sure that neither you nor they are ever placed in an embarrassing situation.
How will I know if I'm 'working to standard' on consideration and respect? When you're working to standard on consideration, you'll always show thoughtfulness for people’s feelings and needs. You’ll protect clients and members of the public to make sure that they are never unnecessarily exposed to embarrassing situations – whether in front of relatives, fellow clients or health professionals.
3.2.8. Consent – telling clients and members of the public what you intend to do and listening carefully to what they say about it. Working in partnership with the person at all times is a basic principle that you must keep to at all times.
Always explain what you intend to do with clients and members of the public, even when it is basic advice or routine procedures, and only continue with your planned work once the person agrees to it. You must check that this agreement is written in the person’s records, and you should report any concerns that the person or a relative has.
How will I know if I'm 'working to standard' on consent? When you're working to standard on consent, you'll be demonstrating that you will always make sure that the person knows what you are planning to do and is happy with it. If the person cannot give consent for themselves, because of their age or condition, you must always check with a relative or a carer.
If the person or relative has not agreed to what you plan to do, you must not do it. Always check with a senior member of staff if you are in any doubt.
3.2.9. Confidentiality - protecting the person's privacy. Confidentiality is essential to protect the interests of clients and members of the public. It is a main feature of any code of conduct and of most terms and conditions of service in a health and fitness environment. So you must make sure that you don't give out personal information about clients or members of the public, or about their condition or treatment, to anyone other than colleagues in the team who need to know the information to help in the delivery of service to the person.
If you do not protect the person’s right to confidentiality, you may be breaking data-protection laws. If you feel that a person is at risk of harm, and that you need to speak out, you should tell your supervisor. You should not discuss those in receipt of services with anyone outside work.
How will I know if I'm 'working to standard' on confidentiality? When you're working to standard on confidentiality, you'll maintain a professional attitude at all times when handling information relating to a client or member of the public and you won’t 'gossip' to anyone at any time. When you do pass on information to a colleague as part of your job, you will take care to be accurate and clear in what you say or write.
3.2.10. Co-operation - working effectively with your colleagues and others in the fitness industry as part of a team. Value the part you play in the team and respect the part played by other members of the team.
How will I know if I'm 'working to standard' on co-operation? When you're working to standard on co-operation, the contribution you make to the team and fitness industry will be valued. You'll be communicating effectively, sharing information and working to meet the team’s shared goals in the best interests of the people you provide a service for.
3.2.11. Protection - making sure you don't put clients, members of the public and colleagues at risk of harm. Make sure clients, members of the public, visitors and colleagues are protected from dangers and risks and that nothing you do, or don’t do, results in harm or risk to others.
How will I know if I'm 'working to standard on protection'? When you're working to standard on protection, you'll know the dangers clients, members of the public and colleagues face at work and will do what you can to reduce risks of accidents or harm. You will also make sure you report any concerns you have to a supervisor to reduce risks in the future.
3.2.12. Development - trying to increase your own knowledge and skills by talking to clients, members of the public and colleagues and looking for opportunities to learn.
If you are interested in your work and feel comfortable using the knowledge you need to carry out your job, you will be able to offer a better service to clients and members of the public and you should feel more motivated as a result.
How will I know if I'm 'working to standard' on development? When you're working to standard on development, you'll be taking every chance you can to protect client and public safety by improving the way you work.
This could be by attending a course, shadowing a colleague or listening to feedback from patients and members of the public. You'll continually monitor, evaluate and reflect on what you do at work and try to do it to the best of your ability.
3.2.13. Alertness - observing any changes that could affect a clients or member of the public’s needs or progress. Always try to notice when a client or member of the public isn't doing what you expect of them and report your observations to an appropriate person.
How will I know if I'm 'working to standard' on alertness? When you're working to standard on alertness, you will notice when clients or members of the public are 'just not right'. You'll notice, for instance, when the client can't move as well as usual, appears less alert or perhaps hasn't eaten.
You’ll also notice when things in the workplace are not as they should be, relating for example to aspects of service delivery. Reporting these observations will be in the best interests of the people in receipt of your services.
4. How this affects you
4.1. The code of conduct means that, as a personal trainer, you have a responsibility to work to standard. This means that you must do the following.
4.1.1. Only do what your job description or specification allows you to do. If you do something, or accept an instruction from another health professional to do something that isn't within your job description or specification or level of skill, you could be putting the safety of the client or member of the public at risk and you could be disciplined.
Let your manager or a superior know if you feel you are being asked to do something you don't know how to, or something you know isn't in your job description or specification.
4.1.2. It is within the code of conduct of all personal trainers not to delegate tasks unless they are sure that the person they are delegating to has the skills and is happy to perform the task. The person who delegates will remain professionally accountable for delegating the task. However, if you accept the task, you will be accountable for how well you perform it.
4.1.3. Make sure that you always follow the standard procedures for carrying out tasks and duties.
4.1.4. Make sure that you obtain consent, in line with your organisation’s policies, before doing anything to a client or member of the public.
4.1.5. Follow the rules on 'duty of care' (see paragraph 3.2.6). This means you must always make sure clients, members of the public and colleagues don't come to harm because of something you've done or something you have not done, or because you've been careless or taken risks.
4.1.6. Making notes and keeping clients’ and members of the public’s records up to date and accurate is an essential part of your service. You should only write down information relevant to the service you have given to clients, and get an appropriate person to sign the record in line with your organisation’s policy. If you are not sure, ask for advice. As you are accountable for anything you write, no matter how informal it might seem, your employer or the courts can use what you write as evidence in any enquiry in the future.
4.1.7. Raise issues you are concerned about with your line manager where these relate:
How care or service is delivered.
The personal health, safety and security of patients and members of the public.
Harm and abuse of patients or members of the public.
Free PT Business Health Check
If you're a personal trainer who's not sure whether their business is working at optimum levels, the Personal Trainer Business Health Check is for you.