As ergonomists, we’re especially curious about all those products that are marketed as “ergonomically designed”. We recently bought two “ergo” snow shovels, and Kirsten volunteered to rate them, in comparison with a traditional shovel.
We compared two “ergonomic” shovels with a traditional shovel. We found the two ergo shovels on amazon.ca:
Snow Joe shovel (now only $24)
Ergo systems shovel (now $43)
Kirsten ran a trial that involved pushing and lifting snow (two different tasks). She measured the push force required for each shovel. She had a volunteer photograph her using the shovels. She biomechanically compared the shovels, and also offered her subjective opinions on each one. What did she find?
Those second handles do help, by making the shovel easier to lift – less bending and twisting is required. We didn’t report the details of Kirsten’s measurements or analysis in our posts, but it’s possible to compare the demands of different products on a worker’s back, arms, and hands.
One shovel had a handle that was designed to move, which seemed to help a bit while lifting, but made pushing snow more difficult. Kirsten rated the “Snow Joe” shovel a 4/5. (far right in photos above)
The “Ergie Shovel” earned a 5/5 rating….I expect that it has found a home in Kirsten’s garage! (middle photo above)
And the traditional shovel? Only a 2/5!
If you’re interested in a product comparison, send us a suggestion, or, better yet, a sample product. We don’t sell advertising, but we find these reviews fun to do!
If you’re a marketer and you’re looking for evidence that your product is “ergonomically designed” we’d be happy to quote on a detailed study. then