ToughBuilt is calling for greater awareness of the need for adequate knee protection to protect the nation’s workforce.
The business has launched its KneelSmart, KneelSafe campaign which aims to make organisations across the UK aware of the important role products like kneepads can play in preventing work related injuries and in reducing lost work days.
Matthew Handley, Head of Marketing at ToughBuilt (Europe), explains: “ToughBuilt may manufacture a range of innovative, high performance kneepads but the reason for our campaign for improved knee protection isn’t motivated by profit but by a sense of professionalism and by a duty of care.
“We know that it’s all too easy for people to take their knees for granted and to overlook the fact they are the largest, most complex and arguably most important joint in the human body. Our knees are often responsible for carrying our entire bodyweight and are instrumental in allowing us to walk, run, climb, jump, sit down and to get back up again.
“It’s an unfortunate truth that some people only realise how essential their knees are to their everyday movement, wellbeing and quality of life when they no longer function as they should.”
He continues: “As there are an enormous number of construction, DIY, agricultural, industrial and domestic tasks that can put people’s knees at risk, we would like to see kneepads treated with the same gravity and widespread consideration as other forms of PPE such as eye protection, safety helmets and protective footwear.”
ToughBuilt’s stance on the need for better knee protection is supported by a wealth of statistics and scientific research.
According to Business in the Community, a network established by the Prince of Wales to champion responsible business, musculoskeletal (MSK) problems such as back, shoulder and knee pain are the leading cause of lost working days lost in the UK. It is estimated they cost the country’s economy 31 million days every year.
Similarly, statistics published by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) in late 2020 highlight that of the 480,000 work related musculoskeletal disorders (WRMSD) recorded for 2019/2020, some 93,000 affected the lower limbs including the knees.
The same HSE statistics listed the agricultural and construction industry as being areas where WRMSDs are particularly prevalent with higher than average occurrences. The study also shows that those involved in specialist trade occupations were especially at risk.
In contrast, research conducted by peer review journal, the American Journal of Epidemiology, suggests that wearing knee pads can decrease the risk of occupational and other knee injuries by more than 50%.
To ensure people choose knee pads which are fit-for-purpose and that offer adequate levels of protection, ToughBuilt advises checking for appropriate levels of penetration resistance, force distribution and shock absorption.
Perhaps the simplest way to do this for both individual and volume users, as well as retailers and distributors, is to always opt for products that carry CE or the new UKCA markings, or that are certified to relevant standards such as BS EN 14404.
ToughBuilt also stresses that under the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974, employers are required by law to carry out risk assessments of activities undertaken by their employees. Where a need for knee protection is identified, it is important this is supplied to avoid significant financial penalties and compensation.
Concluding, Matthew Handley adds: “ToughBuilt has an exceptional degree of knowledge when it comes to knee protection and the difference it can make in reducing the human and financial costs of work-related knee injuries.
“We see it as our moral responsibility to share some of that expertise and that’s why for the foreseeable future will be lobbying key industry bodies and policy makers. Our ultimate aim is to significantly reduce the number of people who inadvertently and unfortunately end up as a work-related knee injury statistic.”