BOSTON -- The International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) is participating in the effort by NSF International, Ann Arbor, MI, to create a voluntary certification process for owners of fitness facilities.

NSF International is a not-for-profit, non-governmental organization that develops standards, product certifications and risk management for public health and safety.

IHRSA will participate in the joint committee that is responsible for developing and approving the standards for fitness facilities. The American Council on Exercise also is participating in the process.

IHRSA has stated that it has five guiding principles for its participation in the process. The association for for-profit facilities has said that certification standards should reflect responsible industry practices already in place and that the standards should be practical. In addition, the standards should help to increase confidence in the industry from consumers, the medical community, and employers, insurance companies and other potential third-party payers.

The facility accreditation standards are in the development process. NSF has said that the standards will contain recommendations on various components of facility design, from cleaning guidelines to court design specifications.

IHRSA is encouraging its member clubs to contact the association with input on pre-activity screening and orientation, staffing requirements, emergency and risk management procedures, and operational practices.