EU-OSHA publishes safety report on exoskeletons

The European Agency for Safety and Health (EU-OSHA) has published a report on exoskeletons that provides guidance for warehouse equipment designers on making their devices safer and more efficient.

Manual handling can be a physically demanding process and cause musculoskeletal injuries and back pain as a result of pressure on the lumbar spine. These injuries reduce the quality of life for workers and can cost businesses a lot of money.

Exoskeletons are assistive technologies workers can wear to help the body lift heavy objects by redistributing stress.

Before considering using exoskeletons, ergonomic equipment designs should be implemented in the storage area. Warehouse trolleys should be easily moved, and handles positioned at the correct height for warehouse pickers. Workers should not have to stretch and twist their body to lift heavy articles off shelves, and machinery to lift items stored at heights can be used.

A heavy-duty warehouse trolley manufacturer can design manual handling equipment that is easy to move and steer, but exoskeletons can also have a role in reducing physical stress on workers. In addition, full ergonomic design and automation may not be possible in all workplaces, such as temporary warehouses, in which exoskeletons are particularly useful.

The EU-OSHA report details both safety standards for exoskeletons and design guidelines to maximise the benefits of an exoskeleton for the user. They must to be comfortable to wear for long periods and must provide physical lifting assistance with no undue pressure on the body.

The report on exoskeletons is available to view and download on the EU-OSHA website.

Posted by Mark
22nd September 2020
Health & Safety

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