Case 250 – Leisure centre bans martial arts club from laying out mats


A leisure centre has refused to allow a martial arts club permission to lay out judo mats for classes, on the grounds of ‘health and safety’.

Panel decision

The centre is right to state that they need to ensure that the people who put out the equipment do so knowing how to handle mats which are quite heavy – but there is no logical reason and certainly no health and safety requirement for this to be done by leisure centre staff exclusively.

The matter at the heart of this case is cost, with the centre charging for putting the mats out and the club members preferring to do it themselves on a voluntary basis. The panel recommends a constructive dialogue about the real reasons for the centre’s reluctance to agree to the club’s request/proposal recognising that any health and safety concerns can be easily resolved and should not be used as an excuse.

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