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When it comes to working on a job site, your health and safety should always come first. There are obvious pieces of personal protective equipment that you should have on you while you work to prevent any immediate and serious injury. Things like a hard hat, high visibility clothing, steel toe boots, safety glasses, and a dust mask among other pieces of personal protective equipment will prevent some very serious problems on a job site.
In addition to these, there are also pieces of equipment that will protect you from those future problems that you may experience in your health. Problems that are the result of consistent wear and tear on the body. One of these pieces of personal protective equipment that we do not see a lot of people wearing when they should be are knee pads.
Knee pain is no joke, especially in this industry. We should be trying to extend the life of our body through protective equipment in this industry as much as possible, even if at times it is inconvenient and uncomfortable. But knee pads do not have to be inconvenient and uncomfortable. There are a few options on the market that make it much more convenient for you to protect your knees and can actually be comfortable for you while protecting those knees for years to come.
Taking care of yourself is important on any job site. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and in this case wearing knee pads is going to provide you with the protection for your knees. Just from walking and moving around the job site, your knees are absorbing impact. Combine that with the impact and strain that your knees take when kneeling against hard surfaces, there is no doubt that the more you can protect your knees the better.
There are a few ways that you can protect your knee while on a job site. Your knee is a joint made up of muscles, ligaments, and tendons that all absorb the energy to take the strain off of the knee. If your muscles, ligaments, and tendons are cold, this puts even more stress on your joint. So first things first, stretch and warm up to stay loose and increase blood flow to your joint. This also improves the flow of synovial fluid, the lubricant for your knee joint.
In addition, you can lift objects correctly by setting your feet firmly on the ground before lifting and at a shoulder width apart. This ensures that the load is dispersed evenly among your body. Holding the load close to your body also removes the strain from your lower back and your knees, allowing you to put the strain on muscles that can handle it better. Good footwear is also important to protecting your knees. Footwear should support and be comfortable. Your shoes should fit properly and provide arch support. This will also help remove stress from your knees.
These are great tactics to use on any given day on a job site to ensure that you are keeping your knees safe. For those that are constantly kneeling and on your knees for long periods of time, you require some additional protection to ensure that your knees will not be withered down over time. Knee replacements are expensive. $50,000 expensive. And require three months of recovery time. This is not an ideal solution. Instead, prevent any problems by protecting yourself.
Knee pain is slow to build and accumulates over time. Athletic injuries to the knee can be common because of an improper movement or firm plant, but injuries can even occur to static stress. A concentration of pressure on a small part of the knee from kneeling against a hard surface will only cause continued stress and pain in the future.
Osteoarthritis affects the bones, cartilage, and synovial fluid in the knee joint. These components all play a role in keeping bone from meeting bone in your knee joint. As these wear down, bone meets bone and pain is the result on a daily basis. Symptoms can range from nothing to severe pain. You could feel completely fine and nobody would notice a difference in your knees, but there could be damage of these components that protect bone-on-bone contact. As this worsens, you will begin to feel stiffness and pain. Then, inflammation begins to set in as this protective layer between the bones continues to wear down. Finally, that layer is gone and there is intense pain, swelling, and stiffness with surgery likely being the only solution.
Prepatellar Bursitis occurs when the small protective sac of fluid in front of the knee is irritated from actions that put pressure on it, for example kneeling. Symptoms of this will include swelling and pain with movement, though the range of movement is not quite the issue as it is with osteoarthritis. This can be treated with time and some anti-inflammatory drugs, or by having the fluid drained. In severe cases when there is a bacterial infection, antibiotics will be required or even the removal of the bursa.
Evidently these are not ideal scenarios for your future. You want to prevent this as much as possible. Working smarter and not harder is a good way of thinking in preventing the wear and tear on your body while working on a job site. Investing in the right equipment is our foremost step in reducing the wear and tear on our body. Things like vacuum lifters that allow us to stay on our feet rather than getting up and down are great pieces of equipment to help you save your knees. Staging materials as close as possible to where they are being used is another important step that should not be overlooked.
Ultimately, somebody will be on their knees at some point and it is important that you protect them from the constant pressure that they will experience between their knees and the hard surface. This is where having the proper knee pad is so important. It is a small investment, but it will have such a major impact on the health and safety of yourself and your employees.
Knee Pads for Your Employees
We make sure that there are always more than enough knee pads, and any personal protective equipment for that matter, available in our work trucks for all of our employees at any given time. We do this to set a precedent in our business. That is that our employees matter and that health and safety is priority number one.
By investing in our employees, we show them that they matter to us. We take every chance we can get to show them that they matter and that we are willing to invest into them, their comfort, and their safety. Labor is hard to come by these days and the future does not look any better. Recruitment of the right people is difficult. Once you know you have the right people, it is best to take care of those people so that they do not want to go looking elsewhere. If you show those people that they matter to you and that they are not just a money making tool, then they will be more than happy to work for you.
The number one reason that we have all of the personal protective equipment that we need is that we want to show our employees that health and safety is number one and that it is taken serious in our business. If you have one employee on your job site that does not take health and safety serious, then you could potentially have a very serious workplace hazard on your hands. Not to mention, they could be putting themselves, your entire crew, and your future at risk. By putting a precedent of health and safety being our number one priority on a job site, we are telling everybody that they should follow our lead. That also means that we need to back that up with actions, and we do that be purchasing the personal protective equipment that everybody should have available to them on any job site.
Best Knee Pads for Construction
The most difficult thing to find the best construction knee pads are that they are comfortable, protective, and stay in place while you work. If you cannot find the three of these aspects in a knee pad, then they are just not worth your time. It is easy to find knee pads that are both comfortable and protective, but that third variable is a difficult one to find. I have gone through several different pairs of knee pads to find the right ones that will remain in place better than the rest.
There are a few things that should be considered when purchasing knee pads. First and foremost, knee pads take a beating. They are not meant to last forever. It is likely not the surface of the knee pads that are going to wear out first. It will be the stitching that will begin to go or even more likely the straps will begin to stretch out. Nothing a little bit of homemade tape straps wont fix if you want to be able to make those pairs of knee pads last a little longer.
Placement of straps is really important too. One strap knee pads just do not stay in place and are extremely uncomfortable in my experience. The strap ends up right in the back crease of your knee and becomes very obnoxious with every movement of your knee. Two straps is the way to go, but it is important to consider where those straps are. The higher up that top strap is, the more likely it is to stay in place. If the knee pad stays in place, the more comfortable it will be for those that are constantly on the move.
With all of this said, which pair of knee pads are the best? It may take some experimenting with a few pairs to find the right one for you as everyone has different needs, protection, and usage. But these are the pairs of knee pads and designs that have worked best for us.
Lightweight Knee Pads
The Thunderbolt knee pads are the most lightweight knee pads that will also stay in place. The key to them staying in place is how much higher the top strap is, allowing for a secure fit higher up your leg. Because your thigh is thicker, the strap will last longer even when it stretches out over use. A tighter fit also makes sure that the knee pad is not going to slide down during use.
These knee pads have a soft gel core and thick foam that cushion the blow that your knee takes when it hits the ground and provides added comfort. These neoprene knee pads also feature ballistic nylon and engineered PVC. The knee pads are non-slip, protecting against many different materials while also preventing abrasions to surfaces.
Most Comfortable Knee Pads
When it comes to the most comfortable knee pads, you first need ones that are going to stay in place. That means you are still looking for that thigh strap. The top strap that is higher than most other knee pads that can secure tightly around your thigh. You are also looking for a knee pad with a good fit and excellent protection. When it comes to this, ToughBuilt has a knee pad that covers all of this. There is one drawback to the design. The knee pads are not flat, but rounded. So when you kneel down, you should do so slower to ensure that you do not roll your knee around upon impact. A flat knee pad will remove that risk. However, these knee pads are ideal for those that are on the ground for long periods of time and require to pivot while on the ground.
That being said, these are an excellent choice. They are built to last with a gel cusion and foam desing, abrasion resistant fabric, and anti-slip knee pads. Pressure distribution allows for optimal protection with these knee pads and all around they are likely the most protective on this list.
The best alternative to these knee pads would be Custom Leathercraft’s knee pads that feature a high thigh strap, as well as a lower than normal bottom strap. These straps ensure that they remain in place throughout the day. The flat gel pad absorbs shock and makes sure that your knee does not roll around while it makes impact with the surface. They are quite possible the knee pad that has been built to last. However, no knee pad is without its downfall. These knee pads are not meant for thin legs. The straps already come fairly long. Though you can adjust them and find a way to shorten them yourself, it is best to choose one of the other two options if you have thinner legs.
Best Work Trousers with Knee Pads
This is another option available for you to protect your knees. By purchasing a pair of pants that have pockets at the knees that allow you to slip in some knee pads could quite possible be the most comfortable and convenient option for you to choose in order to make sure that you are protecting your knees.
It is easy to forget knee pads at the shop or in the truck and decide that it is too late and you wont be doing much on your knees while you are without knee pads. But having pants with built in knee pads, there is no forgetting your knee pads. Not to mention that they stay in the place that you want them to and they do not fall down your knee because the pocket keeps them in place.
The downside to purchasing a pair of work pants with built in knee pads is that the pants will wear out over time. Purchasing a pair of knee pads that are built to withstand the wear and tear will likely last longer than a pair of paints. These pants are best for those that are working on smoother and less abrasive surfaces. If you are able to take care of them or just use them as a backup, they are a great piece of workwear knee pads to have available.
When it comes to choosing a pair of pants that have knee pad pockets, Caterpillar Workwear offers the H20 Defender which is made from water resistant fabric, cordura reinforced knee panels, snap off holster tool pockets, and reflective trim. These are the perfect pair of pants for any onsite worker. They will protect your knees with the proper inserts, provide some water resistance, and allow you to have some tools handy to you at all times.
Best Knee Pad Inserts
If you are looking for the best slide-in knee pads for workwear pants that have knee pad pockets, then these are the best option on the market by far. They feature a patented soft flexible leaf-spring and honeycomb matrix technology to absorb and spread the weight of the user. The difference between these and other gel and foam knee pads is that they spread the force away from the knee, whereas gel and foam knee pads have a focused point of force that is returned to the knee. They outperform and outlast gel and foam knee pads. The rubberized material is not compressed from use and will not wear out like other knee pads do from overuse. They are also waterproof and washable so they can be left in the pants during washing. They do not come without a downfall though, which in this case would be the price point.
Ultimately, investing in some personal protective equipment that will keep your knees in the best shape possible while being comfortable and convenient is the best option. This may take purchasing a couple of pairs of knee pads to find the option that suits you best (the one you do not like can be given to an employee to use).
We have multiple pairs of knee pads in our truck at any given point. More than we need. Many different types that you see on this list, plus the work pants with built in knee pad pockets. All of this to ensure that we never run into the possibility of not protecting our knees while on the job site. This has always been and will always be the number one priority in our business. It not only shows that we value and want to take care of our employees, but it also allows us to lead by example and show our employees that health and safety are our number one priority and it should be their’s too.