Equipment Expert Witness On Treadmills

In Treadmill Accidents: Allegations for Product Defects, equipment and machinery expert witness Clyde C. Richard, Ph.D., P.E., writes that treadmills continue to be one of the major causes of liability claims in the health club industry today and that accidents involving treadmills in homes are causing an increasing number of injuries as well. His company was retained to investigate a treadmill accident where the homeowner purchased a commercial treadmill and two years later set it up in a small confined space.

The plaintiff was exercising when they fainted, fell off the treadmill, was pushed to the rear and pinned against the wall, sustaining major injures as a result. The allegation in the complaint was that the manufacturer designed a defective product because it should have included a safety device other than the string pull or dead man switch that would protect a person who fell while exercising…

The engineer…obtained the installation guide and owner’s manual and determined that both had specific instructions to allow five to ten feet behind the treadmill for clearance in the event of a fall. A site inspection showed that the treadmill was installed with only 19 inches of clearance. A history of fainting revealed during the plaintiff’s deposition only heightened the importance of the manufacturer’s warnings. The insight and research of the engineer allowed the treadmill manufacturer to be dismissed from the case. Treadmills, like any other moving piece of equipment can be dangerous if the warning and safety precautions are not followed.