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Are Treadmill Desks Safe to Use in the Workplace?

First off, yes, treadmill desks are safe to use. They're as safe to use as regular treadmills, which is to say that, while accidents do happen, it mostly comes down to human error. Even the safest treadmill desk can cause an accident if improperly used — there were 15,800 injuries from treadmills in 2020. That said, that's no reason to avoid treadmills and treadmill desks altogether. Treadmill desks offer a convenient opportunity to meet fitness goals in the office, leaving more time to spend with family or enjoying hobbies after work.

Even so, we understand if HR departments are apprehensive about installing treadmill desks in the workplace. To address the misconceptions about treadmill desks in the office, we have added a variety of safety features to our treadmill desks. With features like Intelli-Guard, safety key, and safety alerts, LifeSpan's treadmill desks are designed for safety in the workplace. Below is a selection of safety features and safety tips that can prevent treadmill injuries.

treadmill desk office setting

Treadmill Desk Safety Features


This LifeSpan exclusive feature recognizes when you stop walking and automatically pauses the treadmill belt to ensure no one steps back on without recognizing the belt is moving.

Audible Safety Alert

Each LifeSpan treadmill desk comes with the audible safety alert enabled. This feature notifies the user when the treadmill is starting, as well as when the speed is being adjusted by producing a beeping sound. 

While this feature can be disabled  if it becomes too distracting, we would advise enabling the feature if the treadmill desks are placed near busy areas, as the lack of communication with passers-by could lead to accidents. 

Starting Speed of 0.4 mph

Each LifeSpan treadmill desk starts out at a leisurely 0.4 mph. This is important for shared workspaces so users aren’t caught off guard by an accelerating belt. This safety feature can be disabled in personal settings, thereby allowing the treadmill to resume the previous speed.

Out of the box, the treadmill desk is set with a maximum speed of 2 mph by default, though it can be adjusted to reach a maximum speed of 4 mph. Again, this can be changed by accessing your personal settings.

Safety Key

As with standard fitness treadmills, treadmill desks also come equipped with a safety key located at the front of the console. The key can be fastened to your clothing so if for any reason you step away from the treadmill, the key will release, effectively turning off the treadmill.

Walking Belt Markings

The walking surface includes a white markings which will rotate with the belt to indicate belt movement. Since the motor is nearly silent at low speeds, this is essential to keep someone from being caught off guard by stepping onto a moving belt.

Lack of Incline

Private and government businesses will not even consider a treadmill desk that offers an incline feature. Walking and working at an incline puts the user in a non-ergonomic position, which, in turn, can cause discomfort and increase the risk of bodily harm. Also, the desk would need to rise in unison with the treadmill, creating numerous design challenges.

Side Rails

LifeSpan treadmills come equipped with raised side rails on each side of the belt to allow the user to step on and off of the moving treadmill belt.

Treadmill Desk Setup

As with any other piece of large furniture, you will want to make sure there is a wide berth of space surrounding the treadmill desk. Ideally, there should be enough space for you to get on and off the treadmill with ease, leaving plenty of room for coworkers to maneuver around easily. You will also want to make sure that any cords from the treadmill or other electronics are tucked away and aren't hanging out in the walking area for someone to trip over.

To ensure stability, make sure both the treadmill and the desk are placed on a level surface. To help aid in this, the treadmill desk includes six leveling feet: one at each corner of the treadmill and two located under the desk legs. These can be adjusted to help eliminate rocking created from placement on a non-level surface.

Whether you have a manual or power adjusting treadmill desk, or a standing desk, the desktop height should be set at a height ensuring proper ergonomics. In doing so, you will avoid unnecessary strain on the joints, decreasing the potential for fatigue.

lifespan treadmill desk

Treadmill Desk Tips

As with any other product, a treadmill desk should be solely used as intended by the manufacturer. Doing so will help eliminate unnecessary mishaps. Whether you're walking at a leisurely pace or faster, the following safety rules for power walking and light jogging are worth keeping in mind:

  • Before starting the treadmill, use the safety key — this ensures the treadmill stops if you fall.
  • Start with a slow speed and gradually increase until you find your sweet spot.
  • If you feel like you need your hands free to stay in balance, lower the speed.
  • Wear comfortable running or athletic shoes with laces that stay put.
  • Athletic attire, especially pants that offer a wide range of mobility, is preferred.

If wearing running shoes to the office clashes with your outfit, or the company's dress code, you should stash a pair of running shoes in your workspace. I personally keep a pair of tennis shoes next to my desk that I switch into every time before I begin walking. I don't know how many times I've seen pictures of women wearing three-inch heels while using a treadmill desk, but I would definitely advise against doing so. You will want to wear comfortable, breathable clothing. Even though you will most likely be walking somewhere between 1.5 and 2 mph (and likely won't break a sweat,) walking for long periods in skin-tight clothing is never enjoyable.

For Additional Information

Hopefully, this helps address any questions or concerns you had with treadmill safety in the workplace. LifeSpan's treadmill desks and other office fitness equipment are designed with safety in mind. If you have additional questions, you are more than welcome to give us a call at (877) 654-3837 or speak with one of our live chat agents.

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