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Ergonomics and how to choose the right shovel

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Product designers Product designers are always striving to invent the perfect shovel – one that can dig and shift all types of material in all environments and which can be used by everyone, regardless of frame and strength.

Does this shovel exist?  Well, before we try to answer that, let’s look at the field of ergonomics…

Ergonomics - giving you the right tool for the job Ergonomics is the applied science of equipment design. Its aim is to boost user performance while reducing fatigue and strain on the body. Ergonomics is about providing the right tool for you and for the job.
Wonkee Donkee says 'Ergonomic comes from two Greek  words: ‘ergo’ meaning work and  ‘nomos’ meaning natural laws.'

A shovel is a shovel – surely there can’t be that many designs?

The many designs of a shovel. Eg a round mouth, a square mouth and a taper mouth to name a few.
The shovel is a multi-purpose tool, used in many industries for both digging and moving material. Its many different applications means that there are varied models specific to each function.
A careful balance between the these two factors is needed And not only has the shovel been adapted to different functions, it has also been adapted to complement the strength and ability of the user while minimising the effect of his/her limitations.

Applying ergonomics to the design of a shovel makes it easier and safer to use, hence improving performance.

When looking at the different designs, keep in mind that a careful balance has to be found between choosing a shovel that is both right for you and the task in hand.

So ergonomics is all about…

…fitting the tool to the user – you – and to the job that YOU are doing. If there is pain or discomfort to any part of your body while shovelling, take a close look at your shovel. Is it right for you?