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Preventing Injury in the Workplace

How Powered, Full-Body Exoskeletons Can Improve Spine Health

Source: Occupational Health and Safety |

Safe Lifting for Health Care
One industry in particular that is likely to benefit from powered, full-body exoskeleton technology in the near future is health care. The number one risk for occupational back pain is patient handling, and the cost to have patient lifts in every room could be tens of millions of dollars. Employing several health care workers wearing powered, full-body exoskeletons could enable hospitals to safely lift patients all day long and save millions of dollars, while reducing the occurrence of occupational back injuries.

Ultimately, the goal is to significantly reduce the staggering rate of low back pain that plagues the human population and to give life and health back to workers’ years on the job. Powered, full-body exoskeletons are not likely to completely eliminate workplace back injuries, but hopefully they will enable workers to have a better quality of life overall, with less back pain and greater longevity in their careers. Similarly, if workers are experiencing less overall occurrences of back injuries, employers will benefit from increased productivity, reduced employee downtime and cost savings from workers’ compensation, and that is a huge step forward in reducing spine and back injuries on the job.

Dr. William Marras is the executive director of the Spine Research Institute and the executive director of the Institute for Ergonomics. To find out more about the Spine Research Institute and his research, visit https://spine.osu.edu.