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Endurance and physical intensity: the challenge for moving professionals

Whether for individuals or businesses, movers face many physical risks related to the handling of heavy or bulky objects, as well as falls on cluttered, uneven floors or on stairs, loose objects or unstable, and work at height. This physical and enduring job requires particular vigilance to prevent accidents and the appearance of Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs).

Movers: the inherent risks of a demanding job

Back pain, falls, bruises, sprains, fractures, stress and fatigue are the major risks of movers. Manual handling with the carrying of heavy loads, repetitive movements, poorly packaged boxes, as well as prolonged driving of moving vehicles contribute to back pain

Movers are also exposed to the risk of falling when getting on and off the truck, and handling objects on stairs

Their intensive work inevitably leads to considerable physical and mental stress and fatigue

Among the frequent occupational accidents of movers, there are lumbago and back pain.

Their occupational diseases are still too numerous (source INRS 2021):

• 3 times more accidents at work than the average for other sectors

• Nearly 100,000 days lost per year

• 71% of accidents related to handling

• 15% of accidents related to falls from height

• 70 days off per work accident on average

Beyond Pain: Understanding MSDs

Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are diseases that affect the joints, muscles and tendons due in particular to biomechanical overuse.

Given their high prevalence (they represent 87% of occupational diseases in France) and their impacts both for employees (sequelae, etc.) and for companies (absenteeism, drop in productivity, health insurance contributions, etc.), it is necessary to implement concrete actions to remedy this

Among these, it is possible to turn to exoskeletons.

The 7 preventive measures to adopt

1. Provide movers with adequate training in safe lifting and handling techniques for heavy objects, as well as proper postures to adopt to reduce physical strain.

2. Ensure that work areas are well organized and unobstructed to avoid the risk of falls and collisions, particularly in areas with access to moving trucks and stairs.

3. Set up a rotation of tasks to allow movers to diversify their movements and not always use the same muscles, which can reduce fatigue and prevent MSDs.

4. Encourage regular breaks during demanding tasks to allow movers to rest and recuperate, helping to avoid physical exhaustion and prevent injury.

5. Perform an ergonomic assessment of workstations to identify risk factors and make ergonomic improvements, such as adjusting the height of tables or shelves, to minimize physical strain.

6. Make movers aware of the risks of MSDs, by informing them about the warning symptoms and encouraging early reporting of any work-related health problem.

7. Provide movers with tools and handling equipment such as carts, hand trucks, slings and exoskeletons to facilitate the transport of heavy loads and reduce strain on the body

What is an exoskeleton ?

Physical Assistance Devices (PAD) of the exoskeleton type are ergonomic solutions which, as their name suggests, aim to reduce the biomechanical demands on workers.

Worn on the body like a backpack, these exoskeletons are completely passive (no motors, cylinders or other electronics) and operate using a principle of energy storage-return thanks to springs made of composite materials.

In concrete terms, the exoskeletons developed by ErgoSanté facilitate work, reduce fatigue, preserve health and maintain employment.

HAPO: the exoskeleton that relieves the back on demand

THE HAPO is a passive physical assistance device operating using spring rods made of composite material which allows a partial transfer of efforts from the upper torso (via pectoral support) to the thighs.

Both lightweight (1.2 kg) and discreet, the HAPO was designed to help workers reduce lumbar physical load and thus preserve the intervertebral discs.

The optimal situations for using the HAPO exoskeleton are those that require a "leaning forward" posture during static or dynamic tasks.

Usable both outdoors and indoors, the HAPO has the particularity of being disengageable so that you can sit in a machine or climb stairs without hindrance and in complete safety.

During laboratory tests, it was shown that, compared to a situation without an exoskeleton, the HAPO made it possible to reduce approximately -20% back muscle strain.

HAPO SD: the exoskeleton that relieves the back even when bending on the ground

THE HAPO SD (Without Unlock) is the simplest and most robust passive physical assistance device in the HAPO range. Both light (0.9 kg) and discreet, the HAPO SD has been designed to partially redirect efforts from the upper torso (via pectoral support) towards the thighs.

Operating using spring rods made of composite material, the HAPO SD reduces lumbar physical load workers and thus preserves the intervertebral discs.

The optimal situations for the use of the HAPO SD exoskeleton are those requiring a complete flexion of the trunk on the ground, static or dynamic.

During laboratory tests, it was shown that, compared to a situation without an exoskeleton, the HAPO SD made it possible to reduce approximately -11% back muscle strain.