Ergonomics: Top 5 Principles to Know When Selecting Garden Tools

March 22, 2010 at 3:57 pm Leave a comment

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Hand Pressure Points

Hand Pressure Points Diagram

When it comes to designing garden tools, ergonomics is the science of designing and producing tools that improve efficiency while reducing discomfort, fatigue, and risk of injury.  Since every Corona tool is powered by human muscle, ergonomics is one of the first factors we consider when designing our tools.

Ergonomically enhanced tools can include helpful features like angled handles, padded handgrips and non-slip coatings.  But no matter how impressive a tool’s design is, some tools are much more challenging to make ergonomic. For example, the ergonomics of a hand pruner are closely related to the hand size and physical strength of the user, so it’s difficult to design one shape that works for everyone.

The process of ergonomic design at Corona always starts with reviewing well-established ergonomic principles, such as avoiding high pressure points in the grip and sizing the grip diameter within a certain range.

Our tools are designed to work in close coordination with the human body through four key areas:

Weight – Neither too heavy nor too light for the job.
Balance – Designed for even distribution of mass that feels natural in motion.
Grip Dimensions – Measured to maximize control while preventing fatigue.
Grip Texture – Either a soft, non-slip surface for a firm hold or a smooth surface to reduce friction, which depends on how the tool is used.

Corona’s top 5 ergonomic principles for selecting the right hand tools:

1)  Finger size and placement differs from person to person, avoid using tools whose handles have built-in finger grooves. When fingers don’t naturally align with grooves, excessive pressure from the raised groove edges can cause discomfort and injury.

BP 3640 Ergonomic Pruners

2)  The grip span of pruners, and shears and other double-handled tools can either make your job easier or cause you hand fatigue. To achieve the greatest comfort and efficiency while tackling tasks that require more force, choose tools with a maximum “open” grip span of 3½ inches, and a “closed” grip span no less than 2 inches across.

3)  Choose tools with handles that are covered in a soft material, like foam or flexible plastic. Cushioned handles are not only comfortable for long hours of use, but they provide a much firmer grip and cut down on slippage.

4)  When selecting hand cutting tools such as pruners, opt for ones with spring-loaded handles that will automatically return to the open position. Ideally they should expand to the user’s natural grip, and not extend beyond it.

RS 72451 Ergonomic Razor Tooth Saw

5) Only use tools that allow you to work with your wrist in a straight position.

There is no substitute for real life experience in determining ergonomics for any tool, and with more than 80 years of experience, Corona has plenty to draw from. The Ergonomics Center of North Carolina at NCSU is one of our engineering partners who measures muscle activity, angles of joints and other objective factors, as well as provide subjective opinions. Our research guarantees Corona tools are comfortable to grip and cause less fatigue so you can enjoy more of your favorite gardening activities.

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Entry filed under: Gardening. Tags: , , .

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photo credits

Many of the photos featured on Corona Tools Blog are the talents of Brenda Haas of www.BGgarden.com

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