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Treadmill injuries
As recent headlines have made clear, using a treadmill safely may not be
quite as simple as it seems. According to data from the National
Electronic Injury Surveillance System, about 19,000 people went to the
emergency room (ER) because of treadmill injuries in 2009, which is
about triple the number of injuries reported in 1991. Although only a
small percentage of the injuries are serious, about 30 deaths related to
treadmill use were reported between 2003 and 2011.
Cause Map
Safely using a treadmill is not quite as simple as it seems
Children are at particular risk of
being injured by treadmills. A
motor propels the belt on
treadmills and children can get
extremities caught in the
moving belt or suffer burns if
they accidently turn a treadmill
on or one is left running while
unattended. Of the 19,000 ER
visits associated with
treadmills in 2009, nearly a third
were for children under age 9.
2
Potential for
extremity
injuries
Extremities can
get caught in the
moving belt
Injuries can
occur if
inadvertently
turned on
Potential for
burns
Understandably, the details surrounding Dave Goldberg’s recent death
have not been released to the public, but it is believed that he slipped
while using a treadmill and hit his head when he fell. Falls off treadmills
that result in serious injury are rare, but they have the potential to cause
significant injury and even death. More common injuries associated with
treadmill use are less serious overuse injuries, such as strains and
sprains.
Motor propels
belt rather than
movement
AND/OR
Moving belt can
burn skin
AND/OR
Focused on
operating
treadmill
Children may be
unaware of
danger
Evidence: The majority of
burns and extremity
injuries occur in young
children.
Analysis
Treadmills have
increased in
complexity
OR
Watching TV
Exerciser
distracted
Eyes on a
screen
OR
AND
Intermediate Level Cause Map
Using phone or
tablet
OR
AND/OR
Safety Goal
Impacted
Falls
Injuries can
occur during use
AND
Solution:
Evidence: Injuries
from falls are
relatively rare, but can
be very serious and
even result in death.
There were 30 deaths
reported between
2003 and 2011
related to the use of
treadmills.
Exerciser
unfamiliar with
equipment
Medical
condition
AND/OR
Issues with
balance
Overuse injury
(strain or sprain)
Evidence:
Houston, Texas
281-412-7766
ThinkReliability.com
Copyright ThinkReliability 2015
Evidence: More
treadmills are sold
than other exercise
equipment.
Analysis
Why did it
happen?
Step 3.3
Solutions
Effect
1
What will be
done?
Cause
Problem
What
When
Increase in
demand for
home exercise
equipment
Most popular
exercise
equipment in US
Step 2.2
NOTE: Read the Cause Map from left to right with the
phrase "Was Caused By" in place of each arrow.
AND
Investigate Problems. Prevent Problems.
What's the
Problem?
Why?
Inherent risk of
exercise
Evidence: 53 million
Americans have a
membership at a
health club.
AND
Problem
Elderly
More people
working out at
gyms
Increase in
number of
people using
treadmills
Step 1. 1
AND/OR
Cause
For a free copy of our Root Cause Analysis Template in
Microsoft Excel, used to create this page, visit our web site.
Cause Mapping
Problem Solving • Incident Investigation • Root Cause Analysis
OR
Effect
Cause Mapping is a Root Cause Analysis method that captures basic
cause-and-effect relationships supported with evidence.
Reading
Increase in
injuries caused
by treadmills
Evidence: According to
data from the National
Electronic Injury
Surveillance System,
~19,000 went to the ER
because of treadmill
injuries. This is about
triple the number in 1991.
More
functionality
Problem(s)
Date
Different, unusual, unique
Where
Affordable
AND
Relatively easy
to use
Facility, site
Unit, area, equipment
Task being performed
Increase in the number of injuries from treadmills
Ongoing
More people are using treadmills
Health clubs and homes with treadmills
Treadmills
Exercising
Impact to the Goals
Safety
Increase in injuries caused by treadmills
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