A new EU-OSHA note presents the results of an Italian project – INAIL / Italian Institute of Technology (IIT) – on exoskeletons and the role they can play in reducing work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).
Exoskeletons are personal assistive technologies that affect the body mechanically. They can reduce the load of physical work such as heavy lifting. They can for instance help when ergonomic workplace design and layout are not possible as in temporary workplaces. It can lessening the risk of musculoskeletal disorders.
The redistribution of stress to different parts of the body can have effects on workers’ health. Comfort of use must also be taken into consideration. Therefore, to make exoskeletons useful and accepted, the project authors advise designing equipment that is user-centred.