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October 14, 2021

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Workplace Safety

Call to action issued over the need for adequate knee protection in the workplace

Supplier, ToughBuilt, is calling for greater awareness of the need for adequate knee protection to safeguard the nation’s workforce. 

The ‘KneelSmart, KneelSafe’ campaign 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), says: “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.”

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%.

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.

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