Morrison Utility Services is trialling upper body exoskeletons designed to support arms during manual and chest-high-to-overhead handling tasks
The use of exoskeletons for industry offers a number of health and safety advantages including fewer strain-related injuries, a reduction in lost working days and lower fatigue levels, leading to increased worker alertness, productivity and work quality.
A trial programme designed to explore the potential benefits of the EksoVest exoskeletons is currently underway and being spearheaded by Morrison Utility Services’ Yorkshire Water contract team.
The ongoing exoskeleton trial programme includes:
- Lifting and handling activities in the company’s Normanton stores depot and around hoppers used by site clearance support teams;
- Supporting reinstatement teams using the company’s purpose-built Roadmender asphalt unit;
- Supporting backfill teams loading and unloading rammers onto the sides of vehicles.
Morrison Utility Services executive director John Edwards said: “Augmenting human capability offers scope for significant safety, health and wellbeing benefits for our people working in the field, some of whom are involved in physically demanding, repetitive activities over extended periods of time.
“The benefits of this wearable technology will include reduced tiredness, a reduction in strain-related injuries and the ability for our people to work for longer periods without any detriment to their wellbeing.
“The use of exoskeletons could also help our sector tackle the ongoing skills shortage, as some members of the workforce could find that the use of such innovative wearable technology may help them carry out the more physical aspects of a job, thus opening up otherwise lost opportunities”
Utilities managing director Trevor M Hoyle added: “This is yet another example of Morrison Utility Services leading the way on innovation for the benefit of our clients and our staff.”