Utility workers to test exoskeleton vests
Morrison Utility Services is trialling a number of exoskeletons out in the field, which are designed to reduce strain-related injuries.
The upper body EksoVest skeletons are spring-loaded and are being used by workers on Morrison’s Yorkshire Water contract team.
In particular, the exoskeletons are being used by workers in the company’s Normanton stores dept to help with lifting and handling activities.
The ongoing trial will also see exoskeletons used to help backfill teams loading and unloading rammers onto the sides of vehicles and support workers in Morrison’s Roadmender asphalt unit.
“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,” said Executive Director, John Edwards.
“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,” added Mr Edwards.
The EksoVest was developed by robotics firm, Ekso Bionics with support from construction firm Willmott Dixon, which has also been testing the vest on a new school development in Cardiff.
“The Eksovest technology should lead to teams on site feeling less exerted, meaning improved wellbeing and productivity,” said Managing Director for Willmott Dixon Wales and South West, Neal Stephens.
“This investment also demonstrates the development of our new Eureka fund in supporting technology and innovation that will drive change in our construction industry into the 21st century.”
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