Safety Alert for Treadmills in Health & Fitness Facilities in Australia: Results from a Pilot Study of an Observational Audit Tool

Issue: Vol. 5 No 1

Published by Journal of Fitness Research, April 2016.

Tags: Risk Management , Health/fitness Industry , Facility Design , Safety , Injury , Liability

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  1. Betul Sekendiz (Corresponding Author)
    School of Medical and Applied Sciences, Central Queensland University, Queensland, Australia
  2. Shannon E. Gray
    Monash Injury Research Institute, Monash University, Victoria, Australia
  3. Kevin Norton
    School of Health Sciences, University of South Australia, South Australia, Australia
  4. Patrick Keyzer
    School of Law, La Trobe University, Victoria, Australia
  5. Joachim Dietrich
    Faculty of Law, Bond University, Queensland, Australia
  6. JoAnn M. Eickhoff-Shemek
    School of Physical Education and Exercise Science, University of South Florida, Florida, USA
  7. Caroline F. Finch
    Australian Centre for Research into Injury in Sport and its Prevention (ACRISP), Federation University Australia, Victoria, Australia


Introduction: Design of a health/fitness facility is a crucial element in managing risks to its operators, users and others.Improper location of treadmills not compliant with industry recommendations can increase the risk of injuries, adverse events and subsequent legal liability for health/fitness facility operators. The aim of our study was to analyse the location (spacing and placement) of treadmills in health/fitness facilities in Australia.

Methods: An on-site observational audit was conducted at regional and metropolitan health/fitness facilities (n = 11) in New South Wales, South Australia, Victoria and Queensland. The spacing surrounding the treadmills was measured in centimetres (cm). Placement was assessed by the objects within two metres behind the treadmills.

Results: In all health/fitness facilities the distances surrounding the treadmills on the sides, and behind were less than the recommended minimum distances (0.5 - 1m on the sides, 2m behind) by the manufacturers. In most of the health/fitness facilities there was other equipment (60%, n = 6) within two metres behind the treadmills.

Discussion: The findings suggest that most of the health/fitness facilities audited in this study do not comply with industry minimum recommendations on location of treadmills necessary for safe operation.

Conclusion: Health/fitness facility operators in Australia should be trained to increase their awareness about the risks associated with improper location of treadmills to take appropriate preventive measures.

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Article Title

Safety Alert for Treadmills in Health & Fitness Facilities in Australia: Results from a Pilot Study of an Observational Audit Tool

Journal Title

Journal of Fitness Research

Online Publication Date

April 2016

Author Names

Betul Sekendiz (Corresponding Author)
Shannon E. Gray
Kevin Norton
Patrick Keyzer
Joachim Dietrich
JoAnn M. Eickhoff-Shemek
Caroline F. Finch

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