Lightening work that entails lifting using an exoskeleton in various work tasks in the logistics sector
In Finland, 19.2% (men) and 13.2% (women) of the workforce work more than 1–2 hours per day in a bent over posture or otherwise difficult back position. Sectors where problematic back postures/lifts occur include industry, construction, and logistics. In addition to traditional work ergonomics measures, exoskeletons can be used as lifting aids. Research on exoskeletons has focused on technical progress and, more recently, on the human physiology of load and biomechanical responses.
Exoskeletons have the potential to substantially reduce the stress caused for muscles and the musculoskeletal system. Making effective use of modern exoskeleton technologies in lightening workloads requires measured data on their impact on stress in long-term authentic work situations.
This study investigates the way in which a supportive exoskeleton can lighten the work in the logistics sector, which includes lifting and moving objects. The study is carried out as extensive field research along with a supportive laboratory study. The results can be used for issuing recommendations on which types of lifting and moving work may benefit from the use of an exoskeleton.
Juha Oksa, Satu Mänttäri and Ari-Pekka Rauttola
the Finnish Work Environment Fund, Posti Group's Occupational Wellbeing Foundation and Finnish Institute of Occupational Health