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Industrial Exoskeleton Workshop: Columbus OH, March 9, 2018

Ohio Industrial Exoskeletons Workshop

A workshop on industrial exoskeletons will be held at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, Ohio, on March 9, 2018, from 8:30 am – 4:30 pm (EST). The workshop is organized by the Division of Safety & Hygiene of the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation and is held in conjunction with the Ohio Safety Congress & Expo, the largest and oldest safety and health event in the Midwest. Admission to the workshop is free but seating is limited. Register in advance by calling 614-466-7695 or online at https://bwc.expoplanner.com/content/osc18/Register/.

Industrial exoskeletons have the potential to protect workers by reducing the ergonomic hazards of physically demanding jobs and allowing them to work with less fatigue and discomfort. Used appropriately, industrial exoskeletons may help to reduce the enormous cost of overexertion injuries.

Some exoskeletons are designed to provide postural support to the legs for jobs requiring prolonged stooping or squatting. Other exoskeletons provide assistance to the back during manual material handling tasks. By supporting the arms, an upper extremity exoskeleton can relieve the strain of overhead assembly work, especially while using a heavy tool. Yet another type of industrial exoskeletons may augment capabilities of the whole body, thus aiding workers who perform a wide variety of physically demanding jobs.

Despite their tantalizing promise of reduced fatigue and improved safety, there are many unanswered questions regarding the use of exoskeletons in industrial jobs. What are the short- and long-term consequences of using an exoskeleton on muscle conditioning and coordination? Does an exoskeleton affect a worker’s sense of balance or alter movement patterns? What physical sizes can be accommodated by the exoskeleton? What kind of training and how much training is needed for a worker to use an exoskeleton in performing his/her job? Are exoskeletons accepted by workers – why or why not? How effective are exoskeletons in reducing ergonomic injuries?

The workshop will provide an overview of industrial exoskeletons:

  • Exoskeleton manufacturers will demonstrate the features of their products and discuss their potential for improving safety and reducing injuries.
  • Researchers will share results of their studies on the impact of exoskeletons on the human body.
  • End users will share their experiences in using exoskeletons in real-world production jobs.

Knowledge gained from this workshop will assist industry decision makers in determining whether exoskeletons would be beneficial to their operations and which exoskeletons would be most suitable.

Safety Congress attendees may also see various exoskeleton models and talk to sales representatives at the exoskeleton booths in the Exhibit Hall on March 7 and 8.

For those unable to attend the workshop, video/audio recordings of all speakers will be available at no charge. Contact safetycongress@bwc.state.oh.us to request a link to the recordings.

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