How Can Exoskeletons Impact Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders?August 2, 2019
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are responsible for approximately one-third of all lost workdays in the United States. The total costs associated with these injuries can run into the billions. In fact, a 2018 Liberty Mutual Safety Index found that overexertion injuries are responsible for $13.7 billion in annual costs and make up 23 percent of the total national burden. Many industries have incorporated exoskeletons as part of their personal protective equipment (PPE) to significantly reduce or prevent work-related injuries and MSDs. By helping reduce muscle fatigue for repetitive tasks, these industrial exoskeletons can increase productivity as well as prevent injuries.
Toyota was one of the first companies to incorporate exoskeletons as part of their PPEs. In fact, last November, the automaker made exoskeletons mandatory in its Ontario, Canada plant for employees who were responsible for completing overhead work. In March, the Toyota Motor Manufacturing facility in Indiana also made exoskeletons mandatory. Inspection and assembly workers in these facilities use the Levitate Airframe exoskeleton, which is a device that is worn like a backpack, to help reduce muscle fatigue from repetitive tasks.
Other Benefits of Exoskeletons
In addition to preventing MSDs and overexertion injuries, exoskeletons help attract workers who may be hesitant to take a job that involves hard labor. Many of these exoskeletons are lightweight, comfortable to wear, and easy to use. Some are even equipped with cooling fans. Another exoskeleton that was engineered by San Diego-based Levitate Technologies uses a proprietary pulley system that can reduce muscle activity in the shoulders and arms by up to 30 percent. Ultimately, exoskeletons make hard labor easier on the body.
Ford is another automaker that has incorporated exoskeletons into their PPEs. They use the Levitate Airframe at its engine and transmission plants, and they are in the middle of a two-year study to determine the effectiveness of the EksoVest, which is an upper body exoskeleton manufactured by another company. Wind turbine manufacturer Siemens Gamesa is using the ShoulderX at their facilities.
Today’s younger workers place a higher value on health and wellness compared to the previous generation. In fact, according to OfficeTeam, 87 percent of millennials consider health and wellness when deciding whether to accept a job, compared to only 44 percent of workers 55 and older. Exoskeletons meet those needs by helping prevent injuries. They also deliver a cool, modern, technologically advanced solution to workplace injuries.
Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Seek Compensation for Victims of Musculoskeletal Injuries
If you suffered a work-related injury on the job, you are urged to contact the Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton as soon as possible. We will secure the maximum financial benefits you deserve, including compensation for medical expenses, physical therapy, and vocational training, if necessary. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 844-556-4LAW (4529) or contact us online. Located in Baltimore, we serve clients throughout Maryland.