Knee Pads and Ergonomics Bring Comfort Into the Workplace

Knee pads, back/wrist support, and elbow pads can help prevent workplace injuries and reduce the risk of carpal tunnel syndrome, back pain and repetitive stress injuries.

knee-pads-in-the-workplace

 

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2019, 30% of all non-fatal injuries and illnesses in the United States were related to repetitive stress injuries and musculoskeletal disorders.

 

Proper use of ergonomics can help prevent these types of workplace injuries and reduce the risk of various joint disorders, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, back pain and repetitive stress injuries. This, in turn, can reduce the number of worker compensation claims and lost workdays due to injuries.

 

What is Ergonomics in the Workplace?

Whether you work in construction, distribution, or an office, ergonomics is vital for reducing injury risk and boosting productivity. In construction, where tasks often involve heavy lifting, repetitive motions, and working in awkward positions, ergonomic solutions are crucial. Equipment like lifting belts and ergonomically-designed tools help distribute weight more evenly and reduce strain on the body. 

 

Modified machinery that allows for better posture and less manual handling of heavy materials is also important. In distribution centers, where workers frequently perform tasks like packing, sorting, and material handling, ergonomics focuses on reducing repetitive strain and improving the layout of workstations.

 

Adjustable-height workbenches, anti-fatigue mats, and properly designed hand tools are standard ergonomic interventions. Automated systems to minimize manual lifting and transport of goods also play a significant role. Ergonomics isn’t just limited to tools, mats, workbenches, however.

 

In this article, we will discuss the components that keep workers comfortable, while reducing the risk of injury, including injuries to the back, knees, wrists, and elbows.

 

Related: Sometimes, reducing the risk of injury hinges on more than pads and support. Read our article on entrance mats to learn how the entrance to your facility could benefit from proper matting. If you’re looking for help with spill containment and reducing the risk of slips and falls, our article on sorbents has some tips and products to help reduce risk in your workplace.

 

Knee Pads

Workers in construction, carpentry, and other manual labor industries often use knee pads to protect their knees from hard surfaces, sharp objects or kneeling for extended periods. The use of knee pads helps prevent knee strain, bruising and long-term damage.

 

Knee pads come in various types and designs, so choose ones that best meet the demands of your workplace. Consider factors such as comfort, fit, durability and the level of protection they provide.

 

Ergodyne® ProFlex® 230HL Wide Soft Cap Knee Pads

ProFlex® 230HL Wide Soft Cap Knee Pads are slightly wider and longer for wraparound comfort. They are constructed of a polyester fabric over 15mm closed cell foam padding to produce light-duty protection. Pads are treated to control moisture and bacteria. Pads offer hook-and-loop closures.

 

Ergodyne® ProFlex® 315HL Textured Long Cap Knee Pads

ProFlex® 315HL Textured Long Cap Knee Pads feature an abrasion-resistant long hard cap and a nylon fabric cover. 12mm NBR foam padding is cut to hug the knee. Pads are treated to control moisture and bacteria. Pads offer hook-and-loop closures.

 

Ergodyne® ProFlex® 260 Soft Slip-On Knee Pads

Ergodyne® ProFlex® 260 Soft Slip-On Knee Pads can be worn over or under clothing during light duty jobs. These elastic sleeves are machine washable.

 

Back Supports

Back supports are designed to provide additional stability to the lower back when lifting heavy objects or engaging in physically demanding tasks.

  • Back supports can help reduce the risk of strains, sprains and other lower back injuries.
  • They can also encourage better posture, reminding employees to maintain a straight back while working.
  • Individuals with pre-existing back conditions or a history of back problems may use back supports to manage their condition and prevent further injury.

 

It's important to note that back supports are not meant for continuous, long-term use. They should be used as a temporary measure, rather than as a permanent solution. Individuals with existing or long-term back conditions should consult with a healthcare professional or ergonomics experts to determine proper usage guidelines.

 

Direct Safety® Spandex Back Support with Lumbar Pad

Spandex Back Support with Lumbar Pad is designed for lifting average weight loads and repetitive motion tasks. Lumbar pad molds comfortably into the lower back. 

 

Gripper webbing columns help keep the belt in place. Overlapping 4" elastic side pulls offer added support. 1-1/2" wide stretch suspenders attach to the belt with suspender clips.

 

Direct Safety® Premium Back Support without Suspenders

Premium Back Supports without suspenders provide heavy-duty support to the abdominal and lower back areas. Durafoam front panels feature a hook-and-loop closure system for a quick and secure fit. Flexible nylon stays help prevent the 9" wide support from rolling.


Wrist and Elbow Supports

The purpose of a wrist or elbow support is to provide stability, protection and relief for the joint and surrounding structures.

 

Wrist and elbow supports can help prevent wrist injuries during repetitive workplace activities that put strain on the joints. Supports stabilize the joint and reduce the risk of sprains, strains or fractures.

  • Individuals who have existing injuries, such as sprains and strains, often find that the use of a support speeds up the healing process. The compression a support provides can also reduce swelling and inflammation.
  • Individuals with chronic conditions, such as tendinitis and arthritis, find that wearing a support helps prevent the condition from worsening by limiting movement and reducing stress on the affected area.

 

If you spend long hours typing on a computer keyboard, you should also consider using a wrist support. It can help maintain a neutral wrist position, reducing the risk of developing chronic conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome.

 

OccuNomix Neoprene Thumb-Wrist Supports

Shield the thumb and palm area from repetitive contact injuries with the Neoprene Thumb-Wrist Supports. Manufactured utilizing a therapeutic neoprene material to help prevent tendonitis and soothe irritation. Fits right or left hand. To determine size, measure hand circumference.

 

Ergodyne ProFlex Elbow Support

Repetitive arm motion puts strain on the elbow, so provide support and reduce the risk of injury with this Ergodyne Elbow Support. Machine washable. To determine size, measure the circumference of the largest part of the forearm just below the elbow.

 

Feel free to contact our Safety Support Team to help you select the knee pads, back support, or wrist/elbow pads for your particular workplace. In almost any situation you have, we can offer you options that fit your budget or specific needs, allowing your employees to work comfortably and efficiently.



Care guide

Caution
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This care sheet provides general information only for handling Carolina™ bacterial cultures. When you work with bacteria, it is imperative that you use sterile techniques at all times. Failing to use sterile techniques can contaminate cultures and work areas, and cause health and safety risks. See our Carolina™ Techniques for Studying Bacteria and Fungi Manual (item #154664) for descriptions of sterile techniques and standard practices for handling bacterial cultures.
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Immediate care and handling
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When your bacterial cultures arrive, immediately open the shipping container and remove the cultures. We ship cultures in tubes, plates, and as MicroKwik Culture® freeze-dried cells. Visually inspect each culture. Ensure that tubes are intact with caps securely in place, plates have no cracks and lids are secured by tape, and plastic bags containing MicroKwik Culture® cells are securely closed with the enclosed tube and vial intact.

You must seal any culture damaged during shipment—and anything it contaminated—in an autoclavable bag, and then sterilize it by autoclaving or soaking all contaminated materials in disinfectant. Note: Never discard a damaged, unsterilized culture in the trash. Know and follow your school or district’s guidelines for proper disposal. Contact our Customer Service at 800.334.5551 for a replacement of your damaged culture. It will help to have your order number available when you call.

Hold most cultures at room temperature, 20 to 22° C (68 to 73° F). For tube cultures, loosen the cap and keep the culture tube upright in a test tube rack or beaker. For best results, use cultures within 3 to 5 days of receipt; however, most bacterial cultures remain usable for up to 4 weeks when held at room temperature. Keep in mind that Carolina provides a variety of bacterial cultures and some have very specific care and handling needs that differ from these general guidelines. Vibrio fischeri, for example, must be kept in the dark and subcultured 2 to 3 times per week to maintain bioluminescence.

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Maintaining and culturing
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Eventually your bacterial culture will deplete the nutrients of the medium in or on which it is growing and will need subculturing. Before working with bacterial cultures, wash your hands with soap and water, ensure that the work area is draft free, and wipe the work surface with 70% alcohol or similar disinfectant. Note: Always check the culture for signs of contamination immediately prior to using. Never work in an area where food is prepared or consumed.

Transfer broth cultures to fresh broth using a sterile pipet or loop or streak onto agar using a sterile inoculating loop. For faster growth, you can incubate most cultures at 25 to 30° C (77 to 86° F). After making the transfers, clean the work area with disinfectant and wash your hands again. Either autoclave the old stock cultures and glassware, or cover them with disinfectant overnight. We recommend the use of Clavies® Autoclavable Bags (item #831642) for disposal.

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Biosafety
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In the US the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) sets standards for the safe handling of microorganisms according to their Biosafety Level (BSL). There are 4 Biosafety Levels with BSL-1 being the lowest risk microorganisms and BSL-4 being the highest risk. Bacterial cultures provided by Carolina Biological Supply Company fall into BSL-1 and BSL-2. Our catalog and online listings identify BSL-2 bacterial cultures as pathogens. They are only available as MicroKwik Culture® freeze-dried cells, and we can only ship them to colleges and universities. Cultures not identified in our listings as pathogens are BSL-1.

The CDC standards for working with BSL-1 microorganisms include the following:
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Follow all standard microbiological practices.
Work can be performed on an open lab bench or table.
Wear personal protective equipment (PPE), i.e., lab coats, gloves, and eye protection, as needed.
A sink for hand washing.
Doors that separate the lab room from the rest of the facility.

For working with BLS-2 microorganisms the CDC recommends all of the above, plus the following:
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Restricted access to the lab room while cultures are being used.
PPE to include face shields as needed.
All procedures that can produce a splash or an aerosol must be performed within a biological safety cabinet.
An autoclave or other method of decontamination for proper disposal.
Self-closing doors that separate the lab room from the rest of the facility.
An eyewash station.

For a fuller discussion of CDC criteria for handling microorganisms see the following link: http://www.cdc.gov/biosafety/publications/bmbl5/bmbl5_sect_iv.pdf [link].

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FAQs
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Which agar should I use for my bacterial cultures?
In Carolina’s print and online catalogs, the product descriptions for our bacterial cultures include the type of nutrient medium that we use for each culture. This information also appears on the label affixed to the culture. A wide range of bacteria will grow on Nutrient Agar (item #821862) and Tryptic Soy Agar (item #822022).

Can I pour my own plates if I don’t have an autoclave?
See our Nutrient Agar Bottle (item #776360) and other prepared media bottles. A bottle containing 125 mL of medium will pour 4 to 5 standard 100 × 15-mm plates. Watch our “How to Melt and Pour Agar Plates” video (at www.carolina.com) for a demonstration of the technique.
Should I order a tube, plate, or MicroKwik Culture®?
Tube cultures are best for stock. A tube culture is often streaked on a plate and incubated before lab use. Order a plate culture for convenience and immediate use. You can receive a plate culture and use it in a lab on the same day. A MicroKwik Culture® is best used for longer-term storage and to receive a culture of a pathogen. A MicroKwik Culture® can be held at room temperature for up to 2 months before being activated or for 6 to 8 months refrigerated.

Which cultures should I order for antibiotic testing?
Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria often give different results when tested against the same antibiotic. For that reason, we recommend testing against Bacillus cereus (item #154872), which is Gram-positive, and Escherichia coli (item #155068), which is Gram-negative. We recommend broth cultures because this makes it easier to spread the culture over the surface of an agar plate. See our Carolina BioKits®: Antibiotic Sensitivity kit (item #154740) for more information.
You recommend holding a culture at room temperature, but the recommended temperature for Escherichia coli (item #155065) is given in your catalog as 37° C. Why is that?
Thirty-seven degrees C is the incubation temperature, the temperature needed for maximum culture growth. The culture is mature when we ship it out and does not need further incubation. Maintaining the culture at room temperature allows you to hold it longer before use.

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