Evaluation of Occupational Exoskeletons in Manufacturing – Evaluation of Three Exoskeletons Designed for Overhead Work [47.13]
Date: Wednesday, March 11, 2020
Time: 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
Location: Greater Columbus Convention Center

   Gregory Knapik, Senior Researcher, Spine Research Institute, The Ohio State University
   Eric Weston, Graduate Research Associate, Spine Research Institute, The Ohio State University
   Diana Schwerha, Professor, Ohio University
   William Marras, Professor, Spine Research Institute, The Ohio State University

Track: Research and Development
Secondary Track: Ergonomics and Overexertion
Session Type: Educational Session
Skill Level: Intermediate

The first presentation of the session discusses the results of a research study focused on assessing the potential for passive occupational exoskeletons in reducing the risk of injury in manufacturing tasks. Shoulder and back support exoskeletons were used in the study. The presenter discusses the results of research focused on participant comfort, usability, perceived benefit, and muscle exertion. Overhead work is known to increase the risk of work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), particularly in the shoulders. While wearable exoskeletons have been introduced into occupational environments as an attempt to reduce MSDs in workers, very little evidence-based research has been done to assess their effectiveness. This second presentation of the session describes the results of a recent study that assessed the effectiveness of three wearable exoskeletons designed for overhead work using biomechanical (low back loading and shoulder fatigue) methods.

Learning Objectives:
1. Define the biomechanical basis of low back and shoulder disorders, and show how joint loading and localized muscle fatigue relate to injury risk.
2. Describe why a systems approach is necessary for evaluating exoskeleton designs.
3. Summarize the impacts of wearing an exoskeleton designed for overhead work on the spine forces imposed on the low back and shoulder fatigue.
4. Explain conclusions about the effectiveness (or drawbacks) of occupational exoskeletons in overhead work.
5. Identify the potential benefits of passive occupational exoskeletons for the shoulder and back.
6. List the types of risks of injury that may be most reduced by the use of a passive occupational exoskeleton.

CEU Hours:  
  IACET: 0.1
  HRCI: 1
  BWC Discount Programs: 1

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