Apr 30

Why Knee Pads Might Not Work

You have given all of your employees knee pads and not the cheap ones either. So, why are you still racking up the worker’s compensation claims?  The answer is simple – knee pads only work if you wear them around your knees.  And if you were them correctly around the knees and you can get over the discomfort of the straps digging into your legs, well then, you are on your way to internal knee damage.  The kind of damage that is due to low blood circulation throughout the leg.

Circulation is Key

If you have ever participated in an ergonomic evaluation, then you already know that ergonomists are highly concerned with the angles of joints – hips, elbows, knees, etc…  Why?  Because delivering oxygen to the muscles allows them to operate at their peek performance. Some Orthopedists are starting to connect the dots to dry tendons or tears in tendons to the use of knee pads.

Identifying Knee Pad Problems

How do you know if the knee pads you have provided to your employees aren’t working – simple, just look at their ankles.  When workers start their day, they typically don their knee pad.  But after a few hours on the job, the knee pads are protecting their ankle.  They become so uncomfortable that workers move the pads down the leg because they don’t want to carry them in their pockets.

Alternatives

So, what’s the alternative?  Many manufacturers are creating workwear with built-in knee pads.  Why is this beneficial?  The first benefit is that the pads are always in the right place – protecting the knee.  Secondarily, the knee pad doesn’t have to rely on straps or elastic to stay in place.  The pad is held in place by a pocket that is designed into the work pants.  This allows free movement of the leg in the pants without creating pinching, sweating, or other discomfort. Most importantly there is no lost circulation due to the knee pad, which eliminates the potential for dried out tendons.

Knee pockets on the inside or the outside? Good question.  We recommend interior pockets.  The problem that arises when knee pad pockets are placed on the outside of the pant, is that the knee pad may become displaced for more valuable cargo.  Interior pockets make the user really think about removing the knee pad.  Once in place, the user would have to remove the pants to remove the knee pad. This eliminates the thoughtless removal of the pad.

At the time of this story, we were only able to identify one manufacturer or workwear with knee pad pockets on the interior of the pants.  Try Kneegard Workwear Pants Made In The USA.  They currently offer two versions – a denim and a canvas.  They are made in the United States, which should be a big plus for Union employees.