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Advanced knee protection in the workplace

Peter Dumigan, managing director of the Hultafors Group UK, which owns Snickers Workwear, Hultafors Tools, Solid Gear and Toe Guard safety footwear, discusses Snickers’ offerings for knee protection.

Hardworking 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.

Knee injuries are common in the workplace. Sore and swollen knee joints are something that most tradespeople 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.

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.

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.

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 trousers they’re used with – staying in precisely the right position all the time to ensure reliable and comfortable knee protection.

Kneepads staying 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 complemented by eight types of kneepads designed for various trades and the demands of different working environments.

The KneeGuard Pro system has a pocket design integral to all Snickers Workwear trousers, which includes special seams allowing the wearer to adjust the kneepads for individualised comfort and protection.

The pocket design also makes the kneepads flex when you walk, which also ensures they automatically mould around your knees when you kneel down. Snickers Workwear kneepads also feature a high-sided design that stops your knees from sliding off the sides of the pads when you move on the floor. Some Snickers Workwear trousers also have vents behind the knees so that the knees can “breathe” while you’re bending, crouching or kneeling.

Most workwear manufacturers supply kneepads for their work trousers, and these vary in price, quality and effectiveness. It will come as no surprise to most that some have no guarantee of comfort or protection.

However, 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. Snickers Workwear’s “active” kneepads take cutting-edge knee protection to a completely new level with the revolutionary D3O material.

D3O is the world’s best impact protection material with various sports and outdoor activity applications. 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, if you work a lot on your knees, the D3O Kneepads will give you by far the best, long-lasting knee protection available. Check out the range of protective kneepads certified for use with Snickers Workwear Work Trousers – market-leading knee protection that delivers optimal fit and comfort day in day out.

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