Peter Dumigan, managing director of the Hultafors Group UK, which owns Snickers Workwear, Hultafors Tools, Solid Gear and Toe Guard safety footwear writes:
Hard-working craftsmen and women put more pressure on their knees than many top athletes. That’s why the risk of knee injuries is far higher among trade professionals and manual workers than other occupations 1
Knee injuries are common in the workplace. Sore and swollen knee joints are something that most tradesmen and women suffer from at one time or another and bumps to the knee can be innocuous but troublesome. They’re a perennial problem and can be highly aggravating, but prevention is far easier than cure by taking the proper steps to look after your knees.
The knee is one of the largest and most complex joints in the body and there are different types of injuries that are of particular concern to anyone who works on their knees for any length of time.
The most common ailment is Housemaid’s Knee or Bursitis, which is caused by kneeling for long periods of time and by repetitive knee movements such as crouching down and standing up. Fluid builds up in the Bursa – which is the sack of fluid that cushions the knee joints – causing swelling, soreness and stiffness in the joint.2
So what’s the answer?
The most effective knee protection in the workplace is, as you might expect, covered by legislation and PPE certification standards. The EN 14404 Knee Protection Standard deals with the size, force-distribution and penetration-resistance of kneepads.
Type 2, Level 1 protection ensures reliable knee protection for workers in a mobile working environment that involves regular kneeling to perform their job. This protection level is designed to protect the knees in all types of working environments where you find rough, hard and damp surfaces as well as ground debris up to 1 cm thick. The Type 2, Level 0 standard designates effective knee protection for those people who need to work on their knees indoors – but only occasionally.3
There have been various types of knee protectors available over the years such as inflexible strap-on pads that cut into the back of your knees, causing bruising and potentially impeding blood circulation.
Effective protection really only comes from combining properly designed Work Trousers that use market-leading fabric technology with a knee protection system that has been thoroughly tested, manufactured and certified using materials that perform to the highest standard day in, day out.
The most effective kneepads are those that work efficiently and in tandem with the design of the Work Trousers they’re used with – staying in precisely the right position all the time to ensure reliable and comfortable knee protection.
Effective kneepads should also feature hard-wearing materials on the outside edges and softer materials in the centre to combine efficient pressure distribution and protection against sharp and rough objects with maximum comfort.
The design should also feature high sides to prevent your knees from sliding off the kneepads.
This design approach will also ensure the kneepads extremely flexible when you walk, while closing around your knees when you kneel down.
Kneepads that stay in position around the knee is crucial and that’s exactly what you get with the patented Snickers Workwear KneeGuard™ and KneeGuard Pro positioning systems which are complimented by 8 types of kneepads designed for a variety of trades and the demands of different working environments.
Properly designed and certified Trousers and Kneepads will have a pocket design that has special seams which allow the wearer to adjust the kneepads for individualised comfort and protection. Such a design makes the kneepads ‘flex’ when you walk, which also ensures they automatically mould around your knees when you kneel down.
Most workwear manufacturers supply kneepads for their Work Trousers and they vary in price, quality and effectiveness. It will come as no surprise to most that some have no guarantee of comfort or protection.
However, the more discerning professional tradesmen and women – those particularly concerned with their health and welfare on site – will invest in ‘active’ kneepads that are proven to last and protect. The top-performing ‘active’ kneepads take cutting-edge knee protection to a completely new level with materials like the revolutionary D3O® compound.
D3O® is the world’s best impact protection material with a variety of sports and outdoor activity applications.4 It’s an active and specially engineered rubbery material comprising intelligent molecules which ‘flow’ with you as you move. On shock they lock together to absorb the impact energy which provides high-frequency protection.
The durable D3O® material also features an extremely slow compression rate, ensuring that the kneepads keep their shape during hard work and for long periods of time. What’s more, given that knees are not flat, the ergonomics of D3O® kneepads is important in providing continuous comfort around the profile of your knee.
So when you work a lot on your knees, the market-leading D3O® Kneepads will give you by far the best, long lasting knee protection available. So when you’re buying Work Trousers and especially the Kneepads, look for the ones that are tested and certified for performance, efficiency and protection to deliver market-leading comfort and wellbeing day in day out.
Getting more information on the Snickers Workwear clothing range is easy. You can call the Helpline on 01484 854788; check out www.snickersworkwear.co.uk and download a digital catalogue or email [email protected]