Anyone who regularly wears protective clothing at work appreciates ergonomic products that are comfortable to wear. It’s important that personal protective equipment (PPE) is worn at all times so that it can protect the wearer properly. However, if it becomes uncomfortable to wear for long periods of time, or if it restricts movement too much, there is a high risk that it won’t be used as prescribed. But even short breaks in wearing the PPE significantly increase the risk of injury.

That’s why uvex safety offers a wide range of ergonomic protective workwear. The uvex i-performance product range has been available for several years. Recently, the uvex i-gonomics line has been added to the range of PPE specially designed to meet ergonomic needs. This innovative product system incorporates the latest physiological findings on how wearers of PPE can be supported in a targeted and effective manner.

Looking back: the idea behind uvex i-performance

When the uvex i-performance product system was developed in 2013, the focus was already on combining the usual levels of uvex protection with the best possible fit. This can be achieved, for example, by designing protective work clothing that specifically accommodates the movements that are carried out during certain activities. To a certain extent, the right ergonomic workwear even supports physiological processes. All in all, this reduces strain and maximises comfort – and thus also efficiency, i.e., performance.

uvex i-performance is based on the systematic development of the uvex 3D philosophy, in which products are developed using realistic 3D models. This makes garments for protection from head to toe, such as safety helmets or face protection, safety gloves but also safety shoes, comfortable to wear – and thus significantly improving safety.

Products from the uvex i-performance line are characterised by high levels of protective functionality, top design, optimum quality and durability, offering real added value for uvex customers.

When developing the ergonomic workwear, the issue of weight reduction initially played a prominent role. The uvex 1 safety shoe for example, was already using lightweight construction to reduce strain on the musculoskeletal system. The result: feet and consequently the entire body tire less quickly. The safety shoe line even won several awards, including the red dot award 2013, for its sophisticated concept. These versatile models are still available today.

The uvex RX goggle safety spectacles are also still setting standards today. They were the first goggles with prescription safety lenses. Compared with conventional eye protection, they offer an 18 percent higher transmission rate. This prevents optical aberrations – and headaches. Because, unlike overspecs, which use different media that need to be “looked through”, these goggles offer high levels of visual comfort as well as the necessary glare protection required for working with brightly lit displays or with frequent changes between artificial and natural light.

Ergonomie bei Schutzkleidung

i-gonomics: an innovative index for ergonomic products

Expample: Relief-Index of uvex K2

What differentiates good PPE from excellent PPE? This is the question that’s asked when buying the best possible protective equipment for a company’s workforce. The problem is that although there are countless standards for PPE protective properties, there are none at all for ergonomics or wearer comfort.

To avoid having to rely purely on gut feeling, uvex safety recently collaborated with the Prüf- und Forschungsinstitut Pirmasens e. V. (PFI Germany), the Hohenstein Institute and the Chemnitz University of Technology to introduce a new performance indicator called the Relief Index. The index includes three categories:

  • Weight: Is the weight optimised?
  • Force: What kind of strain does it put on the wearer?
  • Climate: Are the products breathable or anti-fog?

When compared with each other, these key figures make ergonomics a measurable and comparable variable – an innovative approach that supports those responsible for choosing PPE.

All newly developed uvex safety products are classified according to this system on a scale of 0 to 5. For the i-gonomics line, the bar is set particularly high: only developments that have a high Relief Index also receive the uvex i-gonomics seal of approval.

Would you like to find out more about the uvex Relief Index? We discuss it in detail in this blog article.

Highlights from the i-gonomics product line

Which products from the uvex safety collection have qualified for i-gonomics according to the Relief Index? Read on to discover the highlights from the most ergonomic uvex product line to date.

Ergonomic head protection

Anyone who has to wear a safety helmet at work and possibly also attach a type of face protection such as a visor to it will very quickly notice if the helmet does not fit properly. This leads to excessive strain on the cervical spine and painful tension in the neck. It can also be very annoying if the face protection restricts the field of vision.

That’s why the uvex pheos helmet system was designed both to keep the overall weight as low as possible and to distribute it as evenly as possible. An ergonomically shaped hard shell and helmet ventilation also increase wearer comfort.

The uvex pheos safety helmet is available in different versions for various uses. It can be used with matching accessories, such as neck protection, chin straps and visors, for example. It can also be worn with a warm winter hat underneath and combined with safety spectacles and hearing protection.

Ergonomic hand protection

When dexterity is required, the uvex phynomic airLite A ESD safety glove is just the thing. It’s the lightest safety glove in its class and certified according to EN 388 (2 1 2 1 X). Thanks to 3D Ergo technology, it fits like a second skin and is both flexible and breathable. Your hands won’t sweat inside it, and it has been dermatologically tested. These properties make a significant contribution in allowing wearers to work without fatigue for longer periods of time.

Ergonomic eye protection

At uvex safety, a wide selection of safety spectacles protects the eyes from damage which, depending on the area of application, may be

  • mechanical (e.g., chips from the milling machine),
  • chemical (e.g., spray in the lab) or
  • optical (e.g., when working in UV light)

The uvex u-sonic goggles can be selected to fit the work environment and are available with various coatings.

These goggles are also ergonomic: anti-fog on both sides, they ensure a full field of vision during any activity and, thanks to their innovative ventilation system, a pleasant environment for the eyes. They are also lightweight and fit any facial shape thanks to their flexible soft component, which allows contact pressure to be kept to a minimum and distributed homogeneously over the face.

Ergonomic hearing protection

In the uvex K2 earmuffs, maximum protection goes hand in hand with maximum wearer comfort. Soft surfaces and extra-soft memory foam make the earmuffs comfortable even when worn for longer periods of time. The padded headband is easy to adjust as desired, providing perfect positioning of the hearing protection for any head shape. The earmuffs are lightweight and compact but also reduce sound by up to 32 decibels, thus fulfilling the requirements of the EN 352-1 protection standard.

Ergonomic respiratory protection

uvex Atemschutz

The requirements – such as the protection class from FFP1 to FFP3 – that a respirator must meet are specified by the regulations applicable to the relevant workplace. But it’s not only since the COVID-19 pandemic that people who have to protect their respiratory tract at work have had to focus on three things that make for good respiratory protection:

  • Fit: The mask fits tightly against the face and provides optimal protection; the goggles do not fog up
  • Natural breathing: Resistance during inhalation and exhalation should be as low as possible
  • Wearer comfort: No heat or moisture build-up under the mask

Safe and ergonomic respirators in all classes, with or without exhalation valve for all needs and requirements, can be found in the silv-Air series.

Ergonomic body protection

Clothing worn on the body itself should also be as lightweight and breathable as possible and must not restrict the flow of movement. This is especially true for work that is strenuous by definition. Otherwise, the rapid onset of fatigue is inevitable.

The specially knitted functional zones of the uvex suXXeed ESD seamless shirt are adapted to the body’s natural range of motion. It’s popular with people who work in microelectronics, semiconductor production and cable assembly etc. because it’s electrostatically dissipative according to IEC 61340. As it has no side seams, it doesn’t chafe. It’s lightweight, extremely breathable and wicks away moisture quickly, ensuring that the shirt always feels pleasantly dry against the skin. Thanks to silver threads that are worked into the fabric, it also has an antibacterial effect, which neutralises odours.

Another example is the uvex cut quatroflex cut-protection shirt.  With sleeves in a cut-protection weave, it protects against superficial mechanical injuries and meets performance level D following EN 388:2019, tested according to ISO 13977: 1999.

At the same time, it’s highly elastic in all directions of movement, making it easy to work in. It’s also pleasant to wear, as it’s made of Bamboo TwinFlex® material, which is durable and feels nice and cool against the skin.

And once you’ve finished work? It couldn’t be easier – simply throw both tops into the washing machine. This makes them extremely easy to care for and soon ready for the next use.

Ergonomic foot protection

Whether you work in industry or trades, logistics or agriculture – being “steady on your feet” throughout the day is crucial. But your feet are always at risk – heavy objects may fall on them or liquids may be spilled on them. This makes wearing safety shoes very important. Unfortunately, they often have the disadvantage of being clunky and heavy and therefore anything but comfortable to wear.

The innovative uvex 2 safety shoe series in protection classes S3 and S1 P is here to help. In addition to optimum protection for the feet, it also offers a high level of wearer comfort: the comfortable insole supports the arch, and the polyurethane midsole effectively absorbs shocks. Even models with protective toe caps weigh very little because they are metal-free. Climate-optimised, breathable materials suitable for allergy sufferers together with softly padded tongues and collars ensure that you’ll never want to take off the ergonomic work shoes from the uvex 2 series again.

Outlook: the future of ergonomics

There’s already a range of PPE that’s as ergonomic and comfortable as possible for almost any area of application – because, for the reasons mentioned above, this is the safest type of equipment.

uvex safety is constantly researching and developing new materials and more ergonomic products for occupational safety. The i-gonomics product line is also continually being expanded.

Want to find out more about uvex i-gonomics products? We’re happy to advise you! The contact form for our expert advisers can be found here.

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