Exoskeletons at work: 6 critical points
Exoskeletons can relieve strain on operators but… using them is not without risk
Arms, legs, whole suits… robotic or not, exoskeletons have recently emerged in numerous business sectors (automobile, logistics, transport, building and construction, etc.).
The national research and safety institute (INRS) is conducting work on the benefits and limits of using exoskeletons. While the initial experimental studies show that this new physical assistance technology can be effective in reducing muscular constraints, the use of exoskeletons in real work situations raises a number of questions for the prevention of occupational risks related to physical loads, and in particular, musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). “Far from an “out-of-the-box” solution, exoskeletons must be integrated into a veritable prevention approach. The effects of their introduction into a workstation must be assessed and followed over time,” says Jean-Jacques Atain-Kouadio, ergonomist at INRS.
INRS has published an information sheet presenting six critical points associated with the use of exoskeletons, which include the risk of discomfort and/or skin irritation, increased stress, collision with third parties or elements in the work environment, etc.