Are Your Treadmills Positioned For A Major Injury Lawsuit?

Are Your Treadmills Positioned For A Major Injury Lawsuit?

Treadmill injuries and even deaths have been increasing in the news recently.

People running on treadmillsThe death of Facebook David Goldberg made national U.S. news after it was reported he died after he slipped on a treadmill and struck his head. A news story that should now be on the mind of every gym owner, and having them grab their measuring tape, is the decision by the California appellate court reversing the summary judgment in favor of 24 Hour Fitness.

Plaintiff Etelvina Jimenez fell backwards off a moving treadmill and sustained severe head injuries when she hit her head on the steel foot of a leg exercise machine in January 2011. The leg exercise machine was placed approximately 46 inches behind the treadmill, according to the suit.

In part of the courts 20-page opinion filed on June 9th, reversing the earlier judgement in favor of 24 Hour Fitness, it stated:

“When one thinks of the minimum safety zone recommended by the treadmill manufacturer in terms of the height of adult human beings and the high likelihood of a person falling off a treadmill impacting nearby equipment as close as three feet, it seems clear that the reduced zone established by 24 Hour here can hardly be considered a ‘safety’ zone at all. Accordingly, it strikes us that a departure of two to three feet from the recommended minimum six-foot safety zone makes a great difference under these circumstances.

Full document can be found at:

In a recent online check of owner’s manuals for top-of-the-line treadmills by Precor and Life Fitness:

Precor (TRM 885 Treadmill Manual) recommends:

  •  “A minimum of 0.5 m (19.7 in.) on each side of the treadmill and 2 m (78 in.) behind the machine.


Life Fitness (95T Treadmill Base Manual) recommends:

  •  “Keep the area six feet (two meters) by three feet (one meter) behind the treadmill clear of any obstructions, including walls, furniture, and other equipment.”


With the rise of social media, and the increasing popularity of posting “treadmill dancing” videos on Youtube, large safety recover areas will be needed to prevent injuries from accidents and possibly even misuse.

This treadmill dancer was even recently featured on The Ellen Show:

For assistance in finding the perfect top-of-the-line full commercial treadmills to attract and retain members, contact our equipment specialists at (800) 884.1446 or (310) 638.4800.