Morrison Utility Services, the UK’s largest dedicated utility service provider and part of M Group Services, is running an extensive programme of field trials of high-tech, spring-loaded, upper body exoskeletons, designed to elevate and support arms during manual, chest-high-to-overhead handling tasks.
The use of exoskeletons for industry and the workplace offer a number of health and safety advantages including fewer strain related injuries, a reduction in lost working days and lower fatigue levels, leading to increased worker alertness, productivity and work-quality.
A trial programme designed to explore the potential health, safety, wellbeing and productivity benefits of the EksoVest exoskeletons is already underway and being spearheaded by Morrison Utility Services’ Yorkshire Water contract team.
This ongoing trial programme includes:
- Lifting and handling activities in the company’s Normanton stores depot and around hoppers used by site clearance support teams;
- Supporting reinstatement teams using the company’s purpose-built Roadmender asphalt unit;
- Supporting backfill teams loading and unloading rammers onto the sides of vehicles.
Morrison Utility Services Executive Director John Edwards comments: “ 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. 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”
Utilities Managing Director Trevor M Hoyle commented: “This is yet another example of Morrison Utility Services leading the way on innovation for the benefit of our clients and our staff.”