Why construction workers are wearing exoskeletons

In the construction industry, we are slowly starting to see site workers opting to use a construction exoskeleton to support everyday manual handling tasks. 

But what is an exoskeleton? 

An exoskeleton, or exosuit, is a wearable mechanical device designed to enhance or support the physical abilities of a person.  

They have a wide range of applications, from military use to industrial settings, medical rehabilitation, and even helping people with everyday tasks. Exoskeletons are an interesting example of how technology can be integrated with the human body to enhance capabilities and improve quality of life.
A powered exoskeleton is a wearable robotic device that uses motors, sensors, and other electronic components to assist and augment a person’s physical abilities. Whereas a passive exoskeleton does not use motors or batteries, instead active mechanisms such as strong elastic bands, are used for assistance. 

The cost of an exoskeleton can range from hundreds to tens of thousands of pounds for one suit. It is essential that the correct exoskeleton is used for the specific task.  

Below are examples of some of the benefits that construction workers experience while wearing an exoskeleton.

  • Reduced risk of musculoskeletal disorders [MSD]:

Construction work often involves heavy lifting, repetitive motions, and awkward postures, which can lead to musculoskeletal injuries like back strain, muscle sprains, and joint problems. Exoskeletons can provide support to the wearer’s muscles and joints, reducing the risk of these injuries by redistributing the load and promoting correct body mechanics. 

  • Enhanced strength and endurance:

Exoskeletons can augment a worker’s physical capabilities by providing additional strength and endurance. This can be particularly beneficial when lifting heavy objects on a building site or working for extended periods overhead, for example, reducing fatigue and the associated safety risks. 

  • Improved ergonomics:

Exoskeletons can help workers maintain proper ergonomic posture and body mechanics. They can provide support for the spine, knees, and shoulders by reducing the strain on these body parts. Improved ergonomics can lead to better overall health and comfort, reduce sick days and decrease the risk of accidents caused by fatigue or discomfort. 

 

  • Increased productivity:

Exoskeletons can improve a construction worker’s ability to perform tasks, particularly when working overhead and or carrying out a repetitive job, leading to increased productivity and improved site safety. 

  • Injury prevention:

Exoskeletons can act as a preventive measure against musculoskeletal injuries. The risk of an accident falls if the construction worker is appropriately supported when manually handling materials and tools.  

exoskeleton

  • Worker retention:

Workers are likely to feel more valued when their employer invests in innovative solutions, such as exoskeletons. Exoskeletons make construction work more accessible to those with pre-existing physical limitations. This can help with worker retention and reduce churn.  

  • Compliance with safety regulations:

In the UK, health and safety regulations require employers to provide a safe working environment for their employees. Using exoskeletons to enhance worker safety can demonstrate a commitment to compliance.

  • Adaptability to various tasks:

Whether it is heavy lifting, overhead work, or tasks requiring prolonged standing, there is an exoskeleton to provide the necessary support, making them versatile tools for enhancing safety across a range of construction activities. 

In conclusion, exoskeletons have the potential to significantly improve the health and safety of construction workers by reducing the risk of injuries, enhancing physical capabilities, and promoting ergonomic practices. While they may involve an initial investment, the long-term benefits in terms of worker wellbeing and reduced accident rates make them a compelling option for the construction industry. 

Discover the right exoskeleton for your business by arranging a free consultation with Stanley. Email [email protected]  

Book a Demo

Book a Demo

    Personal Information

    Please fill in your personal information so we can contact you.