Placement of Treadmills – Consult Industry Standards

In the last article posted on this site, I provided some analysis as to why the placement of exercise equipment within fitness facilities was important for client safety and for the avoidance of relevant claims and suits against fitness professionals.[1]  I suggested that fitness professionals evaluate manufacturers’ recommendations as well as industry standards when dealing with the placement of exercise equipment, particularly treadmills, within their facilities.

Aside from manufacturers’ recommendations, industry standards can be a valuable resource for fitness professionals charged with the responsibility of exercise equipment placement.  ASTM International fka the American Society for Testing and Materials  published a new standard in 2012 entitled “Standard Specifications for Motorized Treadmills” designated as F2115-12, approved March 1, 2012.  This latest standard, originally approved in a different form in 2001, modifies the prior ASTM standard adopted in 2005, F2115-05.

The 2005 version of the standard provided for a minimum clearance of 1 meter (39 inches) “behind the rearward most portion of the usable moving surface of the treadmill or 2 meters (78 inches) behind the furthest rearward obstruction for emergency egress from the treadmill.”  The 2012 ASTM standard changed that requirement somewhat to provide for an emergency dismount from the device of at least a two meter distance behind the treadmill.  The 2012 standard recommends minimum clearances around treadmills to a minimum of 0.5 m (19.7 inches) on each side of the treadmill and 2 m (78 inches) behind treadmills.

Fitness professionals should review the current ASTM standard as well as manufacturers’ recommendations as to the placement of treadmills and adhere to the safety recommendations contained in such statements.  In the event of a conflict between manufacturers’ recommendations and the ASTM standard, the greater recommended distance behind a treadmill should probably be followed since it would represent the most prudent approach for creating an obstruction free zone in the space behind a treadmill.  The entire standard is available from the ASTM at http://www.astm.org/.

[1] Herbert, D.L., Proper Placement of Exercise Equipment is Important for Client Safety and to Avoid Suit, CPH & Associates, Avoiding Liability Bulletin, September, 2015, http://www.wellfitins.com/proper-placement-of-excercise-equipment-is-important-for-client-safety-and-to-avoid-suit/


David Herbert

David Herbert

David L. Herbert, Attorney at Law, David L. Herbert & Associates, LLC, Attorneys & Counselors at Law, Canton, Ohio 44718; http://www.herblaw.com/ Editor, The Exercise, Sports and Sports Medicine Standards & Malpractice Reporter PRC Publishing, Inc., Canton, Ohio 44735; http://www.prcpublishing.com/ David L. Herbert, JD is an Ohio lawyer and Editor of The Exercise, Sports and Sports Medicine Standards & Malpractice Reporter now in current form, in its 27th year of publication. He has helped write and/or served as legal counsel for published standards and guidelines developed for the health and fitness industry by ACSM, NSCA, NSF and AFAA. David has worked in law-related fields associated with these and other matters for over 35 years and has provided services to ACSM, NSCA, ACE, AFAA, ISSA, NBFE and numerous other similar organizations. He has made presentations to various audiences for ACSM, AHA, NSCA, NATA, IHRSA, NIRSA, AACVPR, HeartWatchers International, the Cleveland Clinic, as well as many other hospitals, professional organizations and educational facilities. He is the author or co-author of 47 books and book chapters and over a 1,000 articles in the field, including a new fictional book entitled The Personal Trainer; A Tale of Pain, Gain, Greed & Lust, a legal thriller that focuses on the fitness industry’s interaction with the legal system, see, www.thepersonaltraineronline.com.

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