WV Farm Bureau Magazine May 2012 - Page 12

Ergonomic tools reduce stress on body Around Our State West Virginia University’s Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design has named a new dean. Daniel J. Robison, current associate dean for research at North Carolina Daniel J. Robison State University (NCSU), will begin his new assignment May 31. “The people and the mission of the Davis College are perfectly aligned to address the great challenges of our time and to push into the future,” said Robison, who is also professor of forestry and environmental resources at NCSU. “We are delighted to welcome Dr. Robison as our newest Mountaineer,” said WVU Provost Michele Wheatly when announcing his appointment. “He has a tremendously exciting vision for furthering the academic profile and success of Davis College students, faculty, and staff.” G ardening can be rewarding on many levels. Research has shown that spending 30 to 45 minutes working in a garden each day produces significant health benefits. However, many tasks involved in gardening can create extra stress on the body. Much of this stress involves the hands, wrists, knees, and back. Stress on these areas can be reduced by using new ergonomic garden tools. Ergonomics is the science of designing things people use so that people and things interact efficiently and safely. Ergonomic garden tools are designed to make gardening more efficient and less stressful to the body. They make gardening more comfortable! New ergonomic garden tools: Features of garden tools that incorporate ergonomic design principles include: to reduce strain and enhance leverage and slip-resistant strain or short handles for gardeners confined to wheelchairs in the garden Using ergonomic garden tools may enable many West Virginians to continue gardening for many years. By Larry G. Campbell, Harrison County Extension Agent, WVU Extension Service Natural Radius Grip (NRG) Hand Trowel, Weeder, and Cultivator: NRG tools use a curved handle design that supports a wristneutral position. The design maximizes power and comfort while minimizing stress on hands and wrists. NRG handles are made of a non-latex thermoplastic, which enhances grip and comfort. Handles are bright green. Easi-Grip Trowel, Fork, and Cultivator: These Fist Grip tools have an angled, vertical handle attached perpendicularly to t plane of the tool. This design keeps the hand and wrist the in a natural position, reducing stress. They also have soft, nonslip grips and are bright yellow/green in color. Fist Grip Add-on Handles: From the Easi-Grip line of garden tools, these Add on angled vertical handles can be mounted onto long-handled tools such as shovels to increase leverage and reduce muscle strain. Two Fist Grip handles can be used on a tool for increased comfort. Extend-A-Hand: This ergonomic garden tool includes a hand trowel, rake, hoe, and saw with a detachable holder. The ergonomic holder includes a padded cuff at the top of the handle through which the gardener places the forearm. Lower on the handle is a vertical grip for the hand to grasp. This arrangement allows the gardener to use the arm and shoulder to dig, which reduces wrist strain. Radius PRO Stainless Steel Digging Tools: This line of garden tools – including shovels, digging forks, weeder, edger, transplanter, and a bulb auger – employs a unique “O” handle design to reduce stress. Others: Kneeling pads and Tractor Scoots, which allow a gardener to work while kneeling or seated, help to reduce back and knee strain. ii / Spring 2012 Insert Provided by WVU Extension Service and Davis College of Ag., Natural Resources, and Design 12 West Virginia Farm Bureau News