I’ll be the first to admit it. I’m an ergo-nerd. I spend a lot of time thinking about products and devices that help people do everyday tasks more easily at home or at the office. In fact, I even have a short list of favorite tools for an injury or chronic pain.
I was reminded of this recently while watching a baseball game. As I watched the catcher squat the entire game, I wondered how he was able to stay in the same position for so long. If I were the catcher, you’d find me on the floor after about five minutes of being in that position. I was soon wishing I could give the catcher knee savers, which is one of my top three ergonomic products.
Easton Knee Savers (by AliMed)
Knee Savers are a lightweight product designed by physicians and sports medicine trainers to cushion joints and minimize strain on the knee. The foam is covered in durable nylon, and it wraps around the back of the calf to support and cushion knee joints. Not only is this a great product for baseball and softball players but also it’s beneficial for people who often are in a crouched or squatted position. Think of a carpenter or carpet- and tile-layers.
Periboard 507 Ergonomic Keyboard with Touchpad (by Perixx)
During my time specializing in office ergonomics, I’ve come to loathe the traditional mouse. It’s the root of a plethora of wrist and arm pain. Ideally, there’d be a more sufficient way to use a computer, perhaps without a mouse altogether. The features of The Perixx Periboard make me think that day might be here. The keyboard has a built-in touchpad mouse with left and right mouse buttons. Essentially, it embeds the touchpad of a laptop into an integrated wrist support system, which is built into the keyboard. The user can control the cursor with either hand, meaning there is no need for repetitive wrist rotation. This is an ideal solution for office workers who spend the majority of their days on a computer.
The Rubbermaid HYGEN™ Clean Water System (by Rubbermaid Commercial Products)
Throughout my college career, I had a multitude of jobs. I held a position as a janitor, and during that time, I gained immense respect for the hard work janitors accomplish. The most physically demanding aspects of this position include wringing a drenched, heavy mop and discarding the water from the bucket. These tasks can be simplified through the use of one ingenious product, the Rubbermaid HYGEN™ Clean Water System. When I first saw a demonstration of the Clean Water System, I was very impressed. The demonstration of this new product showed the bucket is able to move, which reduces the bending and pulling motion and simplifies mopping. I noticed it requires significantly less force when wringing the mop, and the floor drain allows the operator to empty the bucket without straining his or her back. What’s more, the dirty water is then filtered into the clean water, requiring fewer water change outs. All of these features allow janitors or other cleaning professionals to complete jobs without physically straining themselves.
My short list of personal favorites highlights a larger way of thinking. An illness or injury does not have to mean the end of a career. With the right ergonomic tools, employers can re-imagine the workplace and accommodate their employees’ needs.
Have you come across any other ergonomic products that sparked your interest?