Health and Safety CONFERENCE

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Are Exoskeletons the Musculoskeletal PPE of the Future?

Dr. Jenny Legge
Managing Director, JobFit Systems International

Exoskeletons, or wearable robotics, are appearing in scientific journals, industry publications, the media, and even in some workplaces as a potential ‘solution’ for workplace musculoskeletal injury prevention.

This presentation will outline the different types of exoskeletons currently available and their intended uses, including how they can potentially reduce the load on specific muscle groups to minimise fatigue and subsequent injury. However, there are also several documented risks associated with their use in industry. A review of the current evidence base will be presented.

Acceptance of exoskeletons across industries and different work types has been variable and is still in relatively early stages of development and implementation. Mining is often seen at the forefront of safety innovation and can be early adopters of new technologies and processes. Could ‘Exos’ be the next big thing for our industry?

To assist potential users and purchasers to make informed decisions before trial or purchase of such devices, a checklist for independent evaluation will be presented. This takeaway resource will also outline a number of ‘toolspecific’ risk factors to be considered in any onsite formal pre-use / pre-purchase risk assessment for the mining environment.